Cafe’s, restaurants and shops in the UK and Ireland will be able to offer their customers free WiFi in a move that will open further opportunities for online publishers as the smartphone continues to catalyse increasing levels of online and offline convergence.
Any business wishing to offer Skype WiFi to their customers will have to purchase a £49 router and then choose from a range of packages that start from £9.99 per month, along with a free trial of the service during October. Skype also say they will use their ‘hotspot finder app’ to help drive extra footfall to the high-street store, cafe or restaurant.
Adjusting to the Mobile Consumer
In a post by A4u earlier in the year regarding mobile shopping habits, a study in Japan showed that shoppers on a lunch break would go into retail stores and try clothes on, only to then scan the barcode and order online rather than going to the till and purchasing in-store. Reasons why included to save time queuing at a till on their lunch break and to save having to carry items back to their place of work, instead opting for home delivery.
There are distinct opportunities that arise for publishers to be part of the purchase chain where price comparison, incentive, discount and review sites could be targeted more frequently by high-street consumers and importantly at a more significant point of the purchase journey.
A High Street Resurgence?
Although touted by Owen Geddes, Managing Director at Wilcoms as “helping brick and mortar retailers effectively compete with online retailers”, the opportunities for the two channels to actually work together to drive heightened customer engagement and experience should not be underestimated, according to Mark Haviland, Managing Director of Rakuten Linkshare -
“Today’s shopper is always on the go and as a result smartphones have become personal shopping lifelines. Consumers look to their mobiles for the latest offers, newest products and use location-based services to find their nearest high street store. The news that Skype is launching free wi-fi is a call to action for retailers to realise that online has an integral role to play on the high street – the channels should be working together, not competing against one another for sales.
“For retailers looking to capitalise on this multi-channel environment, an affiliate campaign links online with bricks-and-mortar stores easily and innovatively. Working with publishers such as style blogs, voucher sites and augmented reality apps, retailers can use a mobile campaign to direct shoppers to their stores. Going digital is the future of shopping and mobile is the perfect way to merge these marketing channels to drive sales.”