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Advice for Holiday Retail Success: Free WIFI

Black Friday Shopper Needs Free Wifi In StoreBy Suzanne Bowen and Muneeb Iqbal

While most consumers have smartphones they use for shopping, most of the actual purchasing still happens in a physical store. Which stores enable dependable WiFi so that kind of shopping that consumers crave can take place? Here is a list of a few: Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, Whole Foods, Panera, Beef O’Brady’s, Best Buy, Target, McDonald’s, …mostly restaurants. Why are not more retail stores offering free WiFi?

According to a 2015 Ericsson Mobility Report, there are 2.6 billion smartphone subscriptions and the reader of this article is one of them. While a majority of shoppers use their smartphones
to help them make smart buying choices, a majority of those smartphone shopping users actually buy in brick and mortar stores, the ones in the physical world. When consumers want to buy an
item, they tend to use their smart phones to compare prices, look at pictures of the items, browse user and expert reviews, watch “how to” videos, search for coupons, create shopping lists,
read social media-related updates, and check in with “Okay Google,” “Amazon Echo,” or other virtual assistant for advice.

Based on a Swirl’s Research Now survey of 1,000 USA smartphone owners, more than ever, consumers just wanna shop online but buy in person:

47% want to see/touch items before buying
41% want the ability to take it home immediately
30% want to take advantage of sales
30% want to redeem offers/coupons
22% want to enjoy the physical experience of shopping (it’s fun)
20% feel in-person is more secure than buying online
11% want to get assistance from sales associates

According to the same survey, 63% of consumers use their smartphones or other mobile devices to plan, prepare and execute the act of buying something. How do they do that?

57% want to look for offers/coupons
52% want to compare prices
49% want to get more product information on a product or category
42% want to create shopping lists
40% want to access social media/friends

In-store shoppers feel more comfortable researching assistance and answers on their smartphones than to ask a sales associate face-to-face. They want the best prices on the brand that fits
their needs best. If friends recommend, that is even better. Non-commercial xpert reviews make a difference to them, too. Consumers want a good deal. They research for the most non-
commercial, honest, expert information possible.

What the smartphone-carrying consumers need in online or in-store shopping experience is dependable Internet! Retailers should make sure their physical stores make available WiFi for
customers who want to buy online or offline board games, electronic gadgets, leather jackets, or a laptop for someone who adds 800 friends from the opposite side of the world. Sales will result. Never is that more important than the holiday shopping season from Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving) through January 15. WiFi access is important.

GSMA Mobile World Congress is scheduled for February 22 – 25, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. Sign up at http://www.mobileworldcongress.com/.

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