Many marketers are exploring the possibility of using in-store Wi-Fi as an amenity to help attract more customers in what is often considered a difficult retail climate for the big box stores. Retailers are looking for new and inexpensive ways to reach customers directly, besides the traditional print  and digital methods of advertising —and Wi-Fi marketing is an untapped marketing channel that could be a promising solution to reach customers when they are onsite and most receptive to marketing promotions.

One of the key benefits of Wi-Fi marketing for the marketers is that it allows the retailer or venue owner to grab the consumer’s attention when they are most attentive, at the point of connectivity, or when they are connecting to the internet. At this moment they are the most willing to engage with advertising and marketing offers as they are visiting your physical location and interested in what you have to offer.This immediacy allows the retailer to give consumers special offers, bonuses and additional incentives to shop at that location —and to make their shopping experience truly engaging and unique.

Wi-Fi Marketing Gives the Consumer a Free Wi-Fi Experience

Many shoppers and consumers will choose to use free Wi-Fi service if available because they want to stay connected on their mobile devices without using their limited data. Even consumers with unlimited data plans will choose to use Wi-Fi for a faster browsing experience. A major advantage of  offering free Wi-Fi is that it does not require that consumer to download and install an app on their phone or mobile device or change their behavior in any way. Shoppers may want to spend the time browsing the internet,  watching a video, or answering emails and as part of that experience  they can receive messages, offers and coupons from marketers.

Wi-Fi Marketing Allows the Marketer to Offer Immediate Promotions

Another of the most advantageous uses of Wi-Fi marketing for retailers is that it allows them to send special offers and coupons to the consumer while they’re shopping at the location. These marketing messages can appear before they access the internet as part of the captive portal experience or the customers can be directed to a specific website after they sign in, where they can view and redeem offers, sign up for loyalty programs, enter contests, take surveys, and other marketing objectives.

Many of these messages can be aimed at getting the visitor to make a purchase or take an action while they visit the location. Special short-term promotions can also be offered since the consumer is on-site and can make a buying decision quickly and easily.

Marketers Can Collect Consumer Information for Future Marketing

Offering free Wi-Fi service also requires the consumer to set up an account with a password using their email address or a social media website sign-on, such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. As part of the customer account creation experience, the customer can opt in or opt out to marketing promotions and emails. This step in the account setup process provides a key benefit for the marketer, the permission to contact them for marketing promotions. The marketer can now nurture these relationships that began on site when the visitor accessed Wi-Fi and later contact them with valuable offers and coupons to return at a later date.

The free Wi-Fi service allows marketers to track consumer behavior, such as how long they stay in the location, how often they come and visit, and what time of day they might visit. This information is useful to marketers trying to build a profile for specific shoppers and target them with the right advertising mix.

Making its Mark

Wi-Fi marketing is a growing channel that marketers are using to get their message directly to the consumer when they are most receptive to in the moment marketing, at the point of connecting to free Wi-Fi, whether at a retail store, restaurant, community center, airport, train station, library or office center that offers the service. Data has shown that consumers will usually opt-in to use the free service and agree to receive advertising and marketing promotions.

The customers get engaging personalized marketing content and free Wi-Fi service, and the marketers get visitor emails and profiles with promotable permissions. Wi-Fi marketing is a win-win situation for marketers and consumers.