Widespread Coverage: The Wi-Fi network allows access from anywhere in the building. This allows a person to take a laptop from an office to the break room without losing network connectivity. It gives access to network resources without needing to hunt around for a free computer.
Offsite Access: Wi-Fi hotspots are appearing in airports, hotels, coffee shops, and restaurants. Some cities are installing municipal wireless networks that allow access anywhere within the city limits. Employees who are traveling to meet with clients can have access to company resources and email wherever they are.
More Efficient Employees: Employees, particularly those who travel, are less likely to experience a dead time when they cannot work. It allows employees to better balance their work and personal lives by giving them more options on when and where they can work.
What is the impact on loyalty, dwell time, and sales due to both customer and associate WiFi access?
The IHL Group Store Infrastructure 2015 Study measured WiFi’s impact on the bottom line and concluded,”In fact, one could argue that WiFi has become so established in Hospitality and many retail establishments that it is almost table stakes. Not only do you get a bump if you have it, but there is an adverse impact on loyalty if you don’t.”
According to the research, deployment of in-store Wi-Fi had the most significant positive impact on retail sales and loyalty of any technology initiative. Almost half of the participating retailers, representing all retail sizes and types, claimed increased customer loyalty due to deploying in-store employee Wi-Fi, with an associated 3.4% increase in sales. One third of retailers (28%) reported increased customer loyalty due to deploying in-store customer Wi-Fi, with an associated 2% increase in sales. These dramatic results point to employee Wi-Fi as an even bigger positive driver than customer Wi-Fi, and highlight the importance of creating a connected, flexible workforce untethered to point-of-sale stations. 21% of retailers also reported an increase in customer dwell time in their stores due to deployment of in-store Wi-Fi. For these same retailers, top uses included traffic counting at 56% and Session Duration and Device Used at 49%.
Additional key findings include:
40% of IT budgets are now allocated to deploying new and innovative systems, compared to historic measures of 15-30% of budget.
Nearly 70% of specialty retailers are designing their next Point-of-Sale system based on a central order management system, which will put up to five times more load on the network and will require a WAN infrastructure refresh
Per the increased push towards WAN, 34% of participants plan to update their WAN network security within 12 months, and 34% also plan to update their WAN bandwidth optimization to take advantage of changed software architecture and enhanced customer experience options
Devicescape commissioned a similar survey conducted by iGR of 400 U.S. small businesses with retail places of business. They found that providing free WiFi to customers increases:
Amount of money customers spend
Time spent on the premises
Read the full report: 2015 Store Infrastructure Study Impact of Store Networks and WiFi on CustomerExperience