Retailers back instore WiFi

IAB Mobile Engage: Retailers including Debenhams, Marks & Spencer and Dominos are open to instore WiFi despite the risk shoppers will use it to find products cheaper elsewhere.

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All three retailers confirmed they are exploring or expanding their uses of instore WiFi today (17 May) at IAB Mobile Engage in London.

Nick Dutch, multi media manager at Dominos Pizza, said the takeaway company is considering deploying WiFi over the next few months so customers can entertain themselves while they wait for their food to be ready. It is also considering using the technology as a post-purchase marketing mechanic to persuade consumers to shop with Dominos again, with deals.

“This year and next year we will really go deeper into more marketing opportunities as we are not a massive player in mobile marketing yet,” he said. Mobile currently accounts for 20% of Dominos’ digital sales and those customers tend to come back more regularly, Dutch added.

Marks & Spencer has already rolled out WiFi in some of its stores to provide customers with more information about its products, deals and increased availability of products.

Rosie Srao, mobile business development manager at Marks & Spencer, said WiFi offers the company to engage with consumers at every step of their purchase journey.

“We positively encourage customers to use mobiles in store – it’s a new way to engage…its an opportunity to draw attention to things like online offers that they may not be aware of and capture them at that ideal moment,” she added.

Debenhams’ mobile commerce manager Sarah Baillie said retailers cannot possibly try to prevent customers using mobile in store so it is vital they get involved – despite pureplay online retailers such as Amazon and eBay potentially threatening sales because they can offer cheaper prices.

“WiFi will become commonplace in retail stores in the future. There are many benefits of people engaging on mobile within the store: allowing them to double check prices against the website, read reviews or share products with friends for a second opinion…we’re also focusing on making payments easier, there’s still masses we can do to improve,” she said.

The retailers’ moves follow a rallying call from Google late last year to improve their in-store mobile experiences in order to stay viable on the high street.

Technology solutions company QuBit said last year that “poor” mobile web strategies mean UK retailers are collectively missing out on as much as £4bn in revenue.

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