The Beacon

Adding consumer value and brand loyalty with Wi-Fi®

Kelly Davis-Felner

This article originally ran on Retail Online Integration

This holiday season will be especially challenging for both brick-and-mortar retailers and online marketplaces, especially as they compete with each other for the same consumer dollars.

Many retailers believe the best way to entice customers is to drop prices, creating an endless race to the bottom. But driving customer loyalty is not exclusively about price: it’s about value and offering an integrated customer experience. And creating the perfect integrated customer experience can be achieved by offering in-store Wi-Fi®, according to a study recently commissioned by Wi-Fi Alliance® and Wakefield Research.

In fact, 48 percent of consumers said they are more likely to shop at a store that gives them access to a wireless Internet connection. The data also found that nearly a third of customers would stay in the store longer. Most importantly, 16 percent of consumers said they would spend more money.The data also found that 35 percent of consumers use their mobile device to look up a product review while shopping, and that one in three have abandoned a purchase because they couldn’t complete their research. Customers are abandoning their purchases because of a poor Internet connection and retailers are losing profit as a result.

For the consumer, Wi-Fi gives them the best of both worlds, enabling them to peruse the Internet, read reviews of products and validate their in-store decisions. Assuming that the cost spread is minimal, it’s safe to bet that given the choice between purchasing a product immediately or waiting for it to be shipped, most shoppers will choose the former.

For retailers, Wi-Fi offers a trifecta of benefits: more traffic, longer face time with their customers and a larger spend per person. For businesses looking to reclaim market share this holiday season, Wi-Fi offers a cost effective differentiator.

Here’s the catch: If retailers want to get ahead of their competition and offer Wi-Fi, they have to ensure that it’s easy to connect to. Passwords turn customers off, as do spotty, low-quality connections. If a retailer is going to the trouble of providing Wi-Fi, it should be user friendly, free, and simple.

The Wi-Fi industry has addressed these challenges with new technology that make it easy to connect foster customer loyalty and drive business value. Called Passpoint™, the new solution enables a user’s device to connect to Wi-Fi seamlessly across multiple locations with no need to login repeatedly. The program also ensures that users are connecting to a secure network, an important factor to nearly half of those that Wi-Fi Alliance surveyed. Retailers should make sure their routers and devices are Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ and include Passpoint technology, which means that they meet industry-backed quality and reliability standards to ensure your customers a great connection, every time.   

But the ultimate incentive lies in Wi-Fi’s ability to bring the consumer back. According the survey, 30 percent of consumers said they are more likely to return to a store with seamless, automatic Wi-Fi. This is a huge number. Customer retention is a challenge for any store, especially in today’s fast-paced economy and any feature that can drive that many return visits is worth thorough investigation.

This holiday season retailer competition is incredibly stiff. But by offering seamless, automatic Wi-Fi, retailers are able to drive customers in and entice them to spend more, which results in a great customer experience and increases customer loyalty.

The statements and opinions by each Wi-Fi Alliance member and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions or views of Wi-Fi Alliance or any other member. Wi-Fi Alliance is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information provided by any member in posting to or commenting on this blog. Concerns should be directed to

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Kelly Davis-Felner

Vice President, Marketing

Kelly Davis-Felner is Vice President of Marketing for Wi-Fi Alliance, where she oversees branding, communications, market development, program marketing, and public relations for the organization. In addition, she oversees Wi-Fi Alliance program management, including its certification operations. Kelly also holds responsibility for driving the development of Wi-Fi Alliance corporate strategy.

Kelly speaks worldwide about Wi-Fi's impact on applications, devices, and users. She is charged with promoting the technology and the Wi-Fi Alliance collaboration forum worldwide, and is one of its leading ambassadors, working with Wi-Fi Alliance's 600+ member companies.

Before joining Wi-Fi Alliance in 2004, Kelly enjoyed roles in consumer and business marketing, as well as in non-profit management. Kelly holds a BA in Communications from Loyola University of New Orleans, a Masters in Social Work from Tulane University, and an MBA from The University of Texas at Austin. She lives with her family in Austin, Texas.