Offering WiFi in-store offers a range of advantages that you may not have considered. We all know that WiFi helps to drive people into your store, but it also enables you to share personalised offers, provide mobile payment facilities, generate a marketing list, track consumer behaviour and build the persona of your brand.
But it’s not as simple as just plugging in a router. You have to offer a good service to your customers, make it easily accessible and of course make sure that you don’t fall foul of the law.
Gavin Wheeldon, CEO, Purple WiFi, said: “Customers expect free online access at venues and businesses wherever they are. The international WiFi market is expected to be worth more than $93bn by 2018, but it has offered little in the way of value for the venues that provide WiFi.”
This crucial disconnect between offering customers a valuable WiFi service for free, while deriving value for the retailer has long been an issue for retailers. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are some tips to make your WiFi work harder for you, and to keep you on the right side of the law.
Make WiFi work for you
- Make your in-store WiFi access free. This is probably the most important way to make WiFi useful for consumers
- Ensure consumers actually know that you have WiFi in the first place (using the appropriate signage)
- Make connecting to your network effortless and fast. No passwords to remember, no long-winded multiple steps to log-on
- Make sure that you maximise your branding and marketing opportunities via your WiFi. Encourage engagement with your brand via social login options
- Brand up the landing page and continue the conversation through offers and email marketing after they leave
Make WiFi secure
- Don’t make the mistake of installing a router and then handing out the password. Retailers need to use software from reliable providers such as Purple WiFi, to ensure that their WiFi is a) secure and b) legally compliant
- To provide a secure service, you need to be sure that your WiFi has the ability to separate internal traffic from public traffic, and has a secure log-in process
- To be legally compliant, you need to store data in-line with data protection and retention laws, and also be able to demonstrate that you have taken the necessary steps to prevent inappropriate downloading and file-sharing
- In addition, the use of content filtering, although not a legal requirement – yet, ensures that only appropriate and IWF approved public access to the internet is given
Make WiFi legal
Businesses that give out WiFi passwords are putting their network at risk and ideally should provide a separate and secure system for guest WiFi. Purple WiFi not only provide a secure login process but also separate the business WiFi from the guest WiFi, thus protecting your private network and EPOS systems. There are also various obligations in relation to providing public WiFi, which can be summarised as follows:
- Data protection – public WiFi providers need to be aware of their obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998, whenever personal data is collected or processed about individuals. Purple WiFi stores this data in-line with the requirements of the act and is registered with the Information Commissioners Office
- Data retention – the Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009 assists in the prevention and detection of organised crime and terrorism, by requiring service providers to retain certain communications data. Purple WiFi stores this data in-line with the requirements of the regulation on secure third party Amazon web server
- Illegal online activity – the Digital Economy Act 2010 targets online copyright infringement by end users, covering illegal or inappropriate downloading and file sharing. Purple WiFi helps you to prove that you have taken the necessary steps to try and prevent copyright infringement, as users have to both register and accept the terms and conditions that cover inappropriate use. In addition, our Premium product provides content filtering
How else can retailers benefit from Purple WiFi?
Purple WiFi’s reporting engine is like Google Analytics for retailers. Using it you can discover who is shopping, how long they are staying, how often they are returning, and details of their demographics. 50%+ of people post messages about your brand when logging on so with this in mind, retailers can tailor posts according to their store, current offers and target these posts to reach each person’s network of friends. You can also ask customers to add in their card number for additional offers, allowing you to tie in online data with in-store data even further, providing tailored benefits to your customers. You could also offer your partners sponsorship of the WiFi service, and/or advertising space on branded areas, landing pages, in-store or via subsequent emails.
“Purple WiFi can also add RSSI data into your system, allowing you to see the detail of people’s pathways through your store as well as their entry and exit points,” said Wheeldon. “By integrating store floor plans into the system, we can even heat-map people’s movements and draw ‘fences’ around specific areas, allowing you to trigger your marketing messages. Our technology can even be used to tag items in-store and track their movements as well as detect any rogue devices overnight, triggering a message in the process.”
Kingsgate shopping centre
Most recently, Huddersfield’s Kingsgate shopping centre chose Purple WiFi to offer a WiFi service that could not be achieved elsewhere in town, whilst providing unobtrusive access without the need for customers to be inconvenienced by entering into detailed and time consuming sign-up procedures – offering single-click access via Facebook or Twitter.
Jonathan Hardy, centre manager, Kingsgate Shopping Centre, said: “Kingsgate has benefited greatly from linked access to data and are able to improve our targeted marketing to select specific demographic traits and thereby make our campaigns more efficient. We are proud to have been at the forefront of offering this free service at an early stage and look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with Purple WiFi.”
Set up is really simple if you have supported hardware in store! If you don’t, Purple WiFi has a large network of authorised resellers who can help with hardware installs.
Pricing is on request, dependent on your requirements, but it is a monthly license cost with no set up fee. With 300 stores UK wide you would be looking at a price starting from £6 per month per AP.
About Purple WiFi
Purple WiFi was established in 2012 to provide a fast, secure, social WiFi solution to businesses wishing to offer free WiFi to visitors. The business is provided with valuable analytical data to enable more effective marketing.
Purple WiFi is cloud-based and works with any hardware, with native integrations with Cisco Meraki, AirTight Networks and Ruckus in place.
The company is a member of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), highlighting Purple WiFi’s commitment to content filtering and minimising access to abusive online content.
Purple WiFi contact details:
Tel: +44 333 101 4130
(A Retail Times’ sponsored article)