WiFi and your business

Don't underestimate the advantages of providing customers with on-the-go connectivity


BCBusiness + Shaw Business

Credit: iStock

Don’t underestimate the advantages of providing customers with on-the-go connectivity

A common sight across the country is walking past a café and seeing patrons messaging on their phones via complementary WiFi.

However, it’s no longer just cafés where this is happening. Look closer and you’ll see small- to medium-sized businesses, such as beauty salons, hockey arenas and retail stores offering complementary WiFi to customers that are increasingly dependent on mobile devices.

Canadian smartphone owners estimate they spend an average of 90 minutes each day on their phone—and not necessarily talking, but shopping, working and doing web searches.

“WiFi previously was seen as convenient. Now more than ever, it’s an absolute necessity for creating positive customer service,” says Ron McKenzie, senior vice president, Shaw Business.

With the smartphone user penetration rate expected to reach 65 per cent of the Canadian population by 2017, McKenzie sees WiFi as essential in connecting customers to businesses since businesses are now online with their customers 24 hours a day.

According to Techalliance.ca, 96 per cent of customers prefer complementary WiFi and would return to stores that offer it; whereas poor WiFi or no access can drive customers away. Moreover, complimentary WiFi gives businesses a social media advantage because patrons are more likely to promote the business through reviews and check-ins.

One of the most overlooked advantages of in-house WiFi, says McKenzie, is the access to analytics that it provides. For example, with Shaw’s SmartWiFi, analytics that were previously only available to large business owners are now within reach for all small- to medium-sized companies.

Through analytics, business owners can review the number of customers that walked in with WiFi, how long they stayed and what social channels they visited, among other things. From there the opportunities are endless for business owners—they can put together custom branded pages or run deals that customers are craving.

“This allows business owners to understand their customers on an unprecedented level,” says McKenzie.

Created by BCBusiness in partnership with Shaw Business