The average American spends 34 hours per month using the mobile Internet on smartphones and 27 hours on the Internet via computers. Think about it… that’s 71 hours per person each month! Those hours aren’t just accrued at home and at the office; people today are online, all the time, wherever they are located.
It’s no secret that people want to be connected. Today, there’s an expectation for constant connectivity – and mobile Internet alone isn’t enough. People want Wi-Fi. They want it everywhere. And they don’t want to pay for it themselves.
The expectation for Wi-Fi has flooded into more and more small businesses as the public’s appetite for Wi-Fi increases. Providing Wi-Fi might seem challenging for a small business, because most small businesses don’t employ IT staffers. But turnkey Wi-Fi solutions for small businesses do exist, and smart businesses will utilize these managed solutions to put Wi-Fi to use to improve customer satisfaction and boost sales.
Oil & Vinegar, a specialty retailer in Dallas, Texas, is a great example of a smart small business that has put Wi-Fi to use. This culinary gift shop recognized the value Wi-Fi offers in helping them connect with customers and offer unique shopping experiences.
I asked Cheryl Kobza, the local franchise owner, to share thoughts on why she believes providing free Wi-Fi is important – and how it has impacted her business. Here’s what she shared:
“One of our objectives is to educate customers about how to use our products and take advantage of the health benefits they offer. Oil & Vinegar is a specialty retail franchise based in The Netherlands that offers a wide array of gourmet oils, vinegars, and culinary products from around the world. Whether you are shopping for a unique and tasteful gift or quality culinary products for your own use, our goal is to share our passion for taste.
“We offer customers a unique shopping experience by providing tastings throughout the store and occasional cooking demonstrations from our resident chefs. Our customers are always asking for the recipes as well as tips for using our products, most of which come from the Mediterranean. Having free Wi-Fi in the store allows the customer the convenience of accessing recipes and tips directly on their phone while in the store. A customer may never have heard of Passion Fruit Balsamic Vinegar, but having Wi-Fi allows us to take their in-store education to the next level. Customers then have access to the information via the web when they reconnect at home.”
Having Wi-Fi for our customers allows us to take their in-store education to the next level
“We needed something that was reliable, easy to install, and managed in order to avoid our employees having to try to answer Wi-Fi questions instead of educating guests about our products.
“Cost was also a factor. While we knew it was important to our customers and to our business, we needed a solution that wasn’t going to be a major financial commitment.
“Working with a company that we knew and trusted was also important to us. We’ve had success relying on AT&T for our other communications needs, so it made sense to turn to them for our Wi-Fi needs as well.”
“Customer feedback has been positive. We recently added signage throughout the store that offers QR codes with links to recipes and product information. This has been a huge hit for customers and important to our bottom-line. As I mentioned before, educating our customers and giving them ideas for how to use their products once they get home has been one of our biggest service priorities. Having free Wi-Fi in the store has given us additional opportunities to educate as well as eliminate paper waste.
“We’ve just opened our second location at the Shops at Legacy in Plano, Texas. We’ve already installed AT&T Wi-Fi Small Site for that location, and social media played a major part in our opening campaign. We’re confident this will enhance customer satisfaction and draw in more sales over time, as we create an environment that encourages our customer to get creative with their shopping lists and recipes.”
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