Wi-Fi Digital Strategy

  • Date Published
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Why Wi-Fi should be part of your customer engagement and digital strategy, and if it’s not, here’s what you’re missing out on…

Many brands, retailers and marketers see Wi-Fi as a stand-alone solution and, therefore, discount it from their digital strategy simply because they’re either not fully aware of the benefits of offering in-store Wi-Fi, or they see it solely as job for their IT departments, or they just don’t get how it can support their overall customer experience and digital strategy.Wi-Fi is an integral part of a retailer’s marketing mix, and those retailers not using it are missing out on a huge opportunity to engage with their customers and, more importantly, engage with their customers at the right place, with the right message and in real-time.Wi-Fi connects the physical and digital environments and creates a multichannel experience for your customers. The motivations for providing a branded customer Wi-Fi experience are two-fold: It not only provides retailers with high volumes of data with which to nurture brand loyalty, increase customer engagement and satisfaction, but also valuable insight into shopper behavior and preferences with which to optimize marketing for greater return on investment.

Customer Profiling

CRM and marketing automation platforms are essential for many businesses these days, and when they’re connected to a customer’s Wi-Fi experience it creates an invaluable process to optimize campaign effectiveness. Retailers who provide branded wireless internet collect valuable customer insights that help them better understand behavioral patterns throughout the customer journey; when they visit in-store, or match in-store data to their online profiles.

Many brands choose to control their captive portal ensuring the content is 100% on brand and relevant to the retailer’s location. (A captive portal is a device agnostic screen that appears before the customer is connected to your network. It’s deployed through a SaaS solution overlaying your Access Point hardware).

The customer experience use cases for a retailer’s captive portal and Wi-Fi marketing strategy are infinite. When retailers start collecting customer information, magic can happen as they begin to collect and profile customer data to engage with their customers in real-time and to send personalized marketing post-store visit.

Retailers can gather customer data to understand who their customers are, what they like, how often they visit, what they purchase and what their behaviors are. They can then use these insights to create hyper-targeted, personalized marketing campaigns.

Don’t worry, brands and retailers don’t have to learn everything in their first interaction – over time is better! Once retailers start building customer data through different campaigns over time they start building their customer view, which helps provide more relevant messaging in their captive portal and helps plan campaigns more effectively.

Personalized Experience

Brands and retailers with multiple locations can hyper-localize and personalize their content. Wireless access points at each location can deliver real-time personalized messages (both SMS & email) about store and in-store promotions designed for that specific location or region. This allows for very targeted campaigns and a more personalized customer experience.

Brands and retailers that use Wi-Fi as part of their digital marketing strategy create unique opportunities to interact with their customers, enhance their brands experience and increase their shoppers’ dwell time.

A recent survey conducted by Devicescape reveals that almost 62% of stores that offer free Wi-Fi find that their customers stay longer, and half of them report that their customers actually spend more money there.

When Wi-Fi is integrated into a brand’s customer engagement strategy it helps brands communicate better, allowing for a more personalized experience as customers are receiving relevant content at the right time and right place. This in turn develops a more meaningful relationship between brands, retailers and their customers. Customers are happy to share their information with a brand if they use it well; the content is relevant, and it benefits the customer’s shopping experience.

Post-Store Experience

The more brands know about their customers, the more effective their digital strategy and attribution model become. Using Wi-Fi as a marketing channel allows retailers to effectively market to their customers while they’re in-store, but it’s also an effective channel for retailers to follow up after their visit through triggered campaigns. For example, when a customer signs off the Wi-Fi (goes out of range) retailers can provide incentives to their customers to return to their store and ask them to fill out a survey. They can craft and deliver personalized messages or target customers by how they interact in their store; for example, sending an email an hour after they’ve left your store to thank them for visiting.


So, the question prevails: How do I get my customers to sign onto the Wi-Fi?

Simple. Retailers can leverage in-store signage and the universal Wi-Fi icon to raise awareness among their customers with a clear call-to-action and incentive (such as a prize, discount or coupon) for customers to join the WI-FI.

Closing the loop between online and offline customer engagement

In-store Wi-Fi also helps close the loop between online and offline customer engagement; this is especially so when the retailer’s Wi-Fi is connected to their CRM, POS or loyalty program, thereby ensuring all data is in sync and actionable. That’s when a retailer has really struck gold – when they’ve created a single view of the customer and a real-time insights machine that helps plan and optimize their marketing strategy to deliver personalized and relevant content exactly the right place and time, providing instant customer satisfaction.

Martha Nolan, VP Darius® Client Experience, Velocity Worldwide