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From cafes to airports, rarely are tech-savvy consumers without access to a WiFI network for their laptop or smartphone.
And for retailers, offering free internet access not only fosters a more convenient shopping experience, but can actually increase customer loyalty, according to a study conducted by EarthLink Holdings Corp., in partnership with research consultants IHL Group and WiFi solutions provider AirTight Networks.
According to the findings, 82 percent of large- to medium-size retailers have already deployed in-store Wifi, 27.5 percent of which reported increased customer loyalty following its deployment.
“Research findings show that retail has the necessary infrastructure in place and is poised for growth around multichannel engagement using in-store WiFi,” said Kevin McCauley, director of retail market development, AirTight Networks. Accordingly, the study found that 34 percent of retailer participants will update their store-level WiFi technologies in 2015.
Following complete analysis of the findings, the companies will release a benchmarking tool to enable retailers to learn best practices and develop a technology roadmap for their in-store systems.
“Our goal with this study is to establish actionable benchmark numbers that help retail IT executives compare the state of their store technology against others in the industry," said Greg Buzek, IHL. "As many plan to invest in technologies … to keep customers loyal while protecting their data, it’s important to understand the benefits and challenges others have already experienced.”