Free wi-fi has, over just the last few years, become something that customers are coming to expect will be available to them when they visit a restaurant, cafe, or bar and increasingly they are looking to other service providers like doctors’ offices, hospitals and stores to help feed their need to be ‘connected’ at all times.
Faced with this customer expectation many businesses both large and small do indeed now offer their customers free Internet access. But what many don’t know, yet anyway, that doing so can offer them more in terms of ROI than just basic customer satisfaction. By making use of what is termed ‘social wi-fi’ they can in fact benefit from offering free wifi in some less expected ways.
Social Wi-Fi operates a little differently as it allows users to one click connect to a company’s Internet connection via one of their social media accounts, most commonly Facebook, Twitter, Google or LinkedIn. And after they have done so the benefits of the service really begin to kick in.
What Can Social Wi-Fi Do for Your Business?
In a nutshell, social wi-fi solutions can be a win-win situation for everyone. Many companies who have implemented such solutions offer coupons and discounts at sign in, in return for a like, follow or check-in. As far as many customers are concerned this is great, free Internet access and a perk in return for simply signing in.
Businesses can gain even more though. Having access to social media information about clients and customers can be exceptionally useful both for basic demographic research and future advertising purposes.
According to Steven Gacovino, a personal injury lawyer, “Previously, online-based businesses – especially retail – have had an advantage over their brick-and-mortar counterparts, as they could place a cookie to retarget and advertise to people visiting their website. Social wi-fi levels the playing field, as it can act as a cookie in the real world, allowing business owners to use the same tactics as they now have the same information, even if the customer never has, and never will, visit their promotional website. If they have one.”
But Does It Actually Work?
All of this sounds great but the big question any business owner will have is does it actually work? Many say yes it does. Take the Subway restaurant chain. According to a published shareholder report the company installed social wi-fi technology in 52 of their locations in Canada and began running a test that ran from February through May of 2016.
During that time the company says that they saw a 17% increase in coupon redemption thanks to coupons offered at sign in, almost 16,000 new sign ups to their loyalty program, an option also offered at sign in to their wireless network, and 1.8 more return visits made by those who had logged into their free wi-fi versus those who had not.
It’s not just larger businesses, or food service concerns benefiting though. Retail stores are reporting similar successes as are other service providers like auto shops and even dentists. And the good news is that there are a number of affordable solutions that should be within the financial reach of even the smallest businesses, something that may even help them level the playing field a little with larger competitors.