Wi-Fi driving customer growth for UK business

Press Release • Jun 29, 2015 12:33 BST

Wi-Fi driving customer growth for UK business

BT surveys UK businesses on the benefits of customer Wi-Fi

Two thirds (69%) of UK companies see in-venue wi-fi[[1]](file:///C:/Users/801981096/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/89WFF4I3/DC15-276 BT Wifi 18th Anni 25_06_2015.docx#_ftn1) as essential to the growth of their business according to research from BT Wi-fi to mark the 18th anniversary of wi-fi (June 1997).

More than a quarter (27%) of companies surveyed say the availability of wi-fi has or would increase customer visits.

Chris Hewertson, Chief Technology Officer at glh Hotels noted the role of wi-fi in driving innovation for his organisation: “For the hotel sector the availability of free in-venue wi-fi is essential, with many customers now rating it their number one consideration when choosing accommodation. Wi-fi enables businesses like ours to offer a more streamlined customer service. Faster free wi-fi gives us a clear product advantage over other hotels, which is key in a sector as competitive as ours.”

A quarter of businesses (25%) highlighted in-venue wi-fi as driving new ways of doing business that are shaped around new customer purchase behaviours, with nearly half (47%) acknowledging it has helped develop better, more streamlined payment solutions.

Steven Roberts, Strategic Transformation Director at Barclays suggested wi-fi plays a critical role in creating a richer customer experience: “Whether it’s being able to open a bank account in 3 minutes on one of the 10,000 in-store iPads, or automating everyday transactions, in-branch wi-fi has brought us closer to our customers.”

Commenting on the findings, Erik Raphael, Director BT Wi-fi & Devices said: “Wi-fi has become the backbone for many British businesses since its inception nearly two decades ago. In-venue wi-fi is not only seen as essential by customers, but also by companies who also view it as central to the way they do business and how they interact with their customers.”

“Innovations in wi-fi connectivity mean customers have even faster access to the internet, allowing them to interact with services and make purchases in new ways.”

Despite the business benefits of wi-fi being widely recognised, surprisingly the research found that over half of UK businesses had still not adopted in-venue access.


Detailed findings

Business growth

Wi-fi is an essential part of sales strategy for 69% of UK businesses with in-store wi-fi.

Overall over a third of businesses (37%) acknowledge that the availability of wi-fi to customers has helped drive sales, with customer visits increasing in 27% of businesses.

In-venue customer offer

In-store wi-fi availability for customers has helped develop better, more streamlined payment solutions in nearly half of UK business (47%).A quarter (25%) of UK retail and hospitality business say in-store wi-fi is driving new ways of doing business, as well as new customer offerings. Medium businesses in particular (60%) say that in-store wi-fi availability has increased customer visits.

Business and operations innovation

In store wi-fi is directly driving innovation in a quarter of companies (25%), encouraging business decision makers to think of new ways of doing business that are shaped around new customer purchase behaviours.

72% of retail businesses think customers use physical retail stores as a showroom, opting instead to make purchases of their products online.

Perhaps surprisingly, a below average number of London’s retailers see their consumers indulging in showrooming (62% vs 72%) Nearly a third (32%) of businesses recognised that customers used in-venue wi-fi to make price comparisons with in-store products. However, 68% of large businesses said that in-store wi-fi kept their customers in store for longer.

Wi-fi availability

UK companies recognise the business value of providing in-venue wi-fi for customers.Nearly half of all UK customers (47%) have used a mobile phone to browse products and services with over a quarter (27%) making a purchase using wi-fi enabled technology.However since 802.11 standards were set 18 years ago more than half of businesses still have not adopted in-venue wi-fi, despite evidence recognising the potential for increased footfall from this service1 .

[[1]](file:///C:/Users/801981096/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/89WFF4I3/DC15-276 BT Wifi 18th Anni 25_06_2015.docx#_ftnref1)In-venue refers to in-store/ branch or in-facility wi-fi availability.

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