Take advantage of cost-effective in-store WiFi to entice in new customers and encourage existing ones to linger, says Joga Uppal

We’re a nation of constant internet users, with most of us using our mobile phones to browse online every day. Your customers want to feel connected wherever they are, so in-store WiFi is increasingly becoming essential

Joga Uppal, of One Stop Mount Nod, is an IAA Top 100 retailer and was recognised by the IAA last year for his marketing to customers and digital engagement. 

Here, he shares some of his tips for offering internet access in store – from taking care of customer data to keeping costs to a minimum. As he explains, installing free in-store WiFi doesn’t have to be complicated.  

1. Think about your local area
Consider your local area and whether there’s a strong need for internet access. There are some stores where offering free WiFi would be very beneficial to customers: if you’re near a school, train station or lots of commuters, there will be plenty of people who will want fast internet and will come in your store to get online. 

2. Shop around for the best deals
It can be hard to know which providers offer in-store, public internet access, so go online and research. The good news is that prices have really come down over the past year. We shopped around and asked different providers what their best deals were. The contract we have adds no more than £10 a month on to our existing phone and internet bill.

3. Advertise your WiFi in-store
Making customers aware they can go online for free in our store is key to it actually being used. We asked our internet provider for free PoS when we got our deal with them – they sent a pack of window stickers, stickers that can be placed around the store, and tags which hang off the end of our shelves.

4. Keep on top of data protection
To save time and effort, seek out an internet provider who will do everything relating to data protection for you. We reassure customers that none of the data that we capture is shared with third parties. People have to confirm they are over a certain age and tick a terms and conditions box to get online. Your provider can give you a database of the customers who use your WiFi, which is great information. 

5. Promote your internet access on social media
We flag up our free WiFi on our social media channels, as this is where you’ll find your most tech-savvy customers. If people know we have internet, they’ll come in and use it – we had one customer come in-store to rebook some cancelled train tickets. They were really happy we could help them out and customers usually purchase something from us while they’re online. 

If you’ve had a great idea for your business or would like some advice from other retailers to get started, contact editorial@newtrade.co.uk