Improve In-Store WiFi and Build Your Retail WiFi Marketing

Updated: December 8, 2022

a sign reading 'free wifi' sits on top of a stool

Having a great WiFi connection in your store or restaurant is an essential part of the experience at this point. Nearly all consumers prefer to have a WiFi option and many now demand it as part of their retail experience. Of course, a reliable connection also allows merchants to conduct business smoothly and efficiently.

But consumer access to retail WiFi networks has a whole lot more potential than most people realize. Smart WiFi marketing is becoming yet another aspect of the omnichannel retail experience. Like most new trends, the big box stores are the primary businesses implementing it, but it’s quickly becoming accessible for small and medium-sized retail stores as well.

So let’s start by looking at a few ways to ensure you have a safe and fast connection, and then look at how you can use this business tool to increase sales for your business.



PART I: Improving Your Retail WiFi Connection and Network Security

Consider Your Placement of the Router in Your Retail Store

  • Many retailers complain of having one POS terminal operating normally and another moving much more slowly. This is often due to poor router placement.
  • WiFi signals struggle to travel through thick walls (especially if there is metal inside of them) as well as nearby other forms of wireless communication or large electronics.
  • The signal also travels poorly upwards, and instead maintains more strength moving horizontally or down. Placing it on the floor often results in a weaker connection.
  • Finally, it’s beneficial to keep it far from any neighboring signals and as central as possible in the store.

Improve the Range of Your Store WiFi Signal

  • Range extenders are cheap and easy to set up. Place a few strategically throughout the store to add signal strength to the problem areas of the space.
  • Try using a WiFi heatmap app to measure “darker” areas of your retail space. These will help keep your signal strong for your customers, staff, and retail point of sale terminals.
  • An improved range will also help ensure a strong connection for inventory control and management and mobile POS terminals. These can both be run offline with a cloud-based POS system, but, of course, it’s optimal to be connected at all times.

Keep Your Shop’s Network Secure

  • Having a strong signal is great, but it’s also important to keep it secure.
  • Set up a network with a strong password. Don’t just use your store name or something obvious. Changing it often also keeps it more secure.
  • Get Wireless Protected Access 2 (WPA2) in addition to your password. This is further encryption beyond simply a password. Put simply, WPA2 makes it harder for someone to break into your system, keeping your confidential business information safer.
  • Set up two different networks: one for employees and one for customers. This avoids the store WiFi connection from slowing down during rush times and keeps activities separate.
  • Prevent illegal file sharing and downloading. If WiFi activity is flagged on your network you can be held legally responsible. Include a disclaimer prompt that forces an agreement prior to access or add a firewall blocking all sites that are not HTTP. You can also simply prevent downloading across the board.

PART II: Smart WiFi Marketing for Retail

So what about the marketing side of things? Like we mentioned earlier, there is a lot you can take advantage of in this realm that will benefit both you and your customers. If you’re offering the service, you might as well take advantage of the added benefits.

And better to try it now rather than when it becomes an industry standard. WiFi marketing has the potential to redefine the brick and mortar experience. Attempts to leverage these new data analytics are still in their infancy. Below is a brief intro to the concept from a business that helps streamline your WiFi marketing.

How Can You Get Customers Logged In?

  • Advertise the presence of WiFi near entrances and other heavily trafficked areas.
  • Add conditions to the process of logging in. You can redirect the traffic after signing in and request terms of use agreement. From there, many retailers request signing in with their email, a social media account, or phone number.
  • You can also require location sharing in order to use.
  • Many consumers are still wary of sharing too much information so it might help to incentivize signing in with coupons or discounts.

How Can Smart WiFi Marketing Benefit Your Benefit?

  • Identify Buying Cycles – Major retailers have been collecting our purchase history for years. This is a given for eCommerce shops, but it’s not hard to do with brick and mortar stores either. Create and branded app and encourage purchases to be made through this. The rise of alternative payment options (like in-app purchasing) has made this even easier. With added data about consumer buying cycles, retail stores can optimize marketing campaigns, ordering, and promotions.
  • In-Store Location/Traffic Patterns – A good amount of WiFi analytics go toward in-store traffic data. Real-time location services use GPS triangulation to give an incredibly accurate location. This can give retailers information on more than just footfall or in-store traffic. Analyzing the most frequented spots of your retail space can help you improve store layout and displays. 
  • Fight Price Comparison – More and more consumer are using their cell phones for price comparison with online retailers while shopping in a brick and mortar store (a practice coined showrooming). Retailers can use their WiFi to direct shoppers to their own eCommerce store, or price match competition, creating a more integrated omnichannel experience.
  • Continue the Relationship/Conversation – Making repeated contact with past, current and potential customers is proven to increase sales. Gathering customer data through WiFi agreements allows you to build your audience and communicate on different levels. You can send strategic texts, push notifications, emails, or mailings. 
  • Segmented Marketing and Promotions – At the same time, this information combined with a purchase history allows you to segment advertising and personalize the communication. These strategies improve the entire retail experience. Adding incentives with coupons or gifts for signing in gives you customer data and also rewards loyalty.
  • Compare with Multiple Locations – If you have multiple locations for your business, keep data gathered from your WiFi separate for each location. This allows you to perform A/B testing and compare results from changes made to each.

Conclusion on Your Retail Smart WiFi Marketing Strategy

Once you establish a reliable and secure WiFi connection in your store, focus on how you to get customers to use it in a way that also benefits your business. As technology continues to rapidly progress the potential benefits of WiFi marketing are staggering. So it’s best to start now and be ready for what’s next.

Your POS system can also aid immensely with your retail marketing strategy. Our built-in reporting and analytics capabilities offer actionable insight to power successful, segmented marketing campaigns.  Click on the button beneath to find out more about how KORONA POS can help optimize and grow your business.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Responding To Customer Complaints

What is WiFi advertising?

WiFi advertising is when retailers offer customers free wireless internet in their brick and mortar stores in exchange for that customer’s contact information. With that contact information, retailers can send marketing content either through email, text message, or in-app.

How do I give free WiFi to customers?

You can give free WiFi to customers by adding a guest network to your current internet settings. Share that network with shoppers when they come into your store. To make the most of this free service, use a WiFi marketing hub through which you can obtain contact information, and send promotional content to your clientele.

Does WiFi access help to boost your sales?

Yes, WiFi access boosts sales. Studies have shown that customers now expect wireless internet availability when shopping in retail stores, and spend more time in stores when that service is provided. In addition, shops can take advantage of retail WiFi marketing to push promotions and increase sales.

Why do stores give free WiFi?

Stores give free WiFi to bring more customers into their store, have them stay in the store longer, and collect information about them that can be used for retail WiFi marketing. Providing free wireless internet makes customers happy, and allows businesses to obtain email addresses and cell phone numbers to which targeted promotional material can be sent.

About the Author

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Michael Chalberg

Michael has long focused his writing on the world of retail and small businesses. He''s been a part of the KORONA POS team since 2018 and loves helping entrepreneurs find ways to adapt and succeed. In his spare time, you'll likely find him hiking somewhere in the Southwest.

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