August 30, 2016

Debunking Myths: Why Small Businesses Don’t Offer Free WiFi


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Nowadays, WiFi is like a staple ingredient that most business owners prefer to add to their success recipe. However, there are also a few business owners that do not offer WiFi; all the big box merchants don’t do that either. This is quite ironical considering the fact that the consumers today walk around glued to smartphones and expect quick and easy access to the Internet wherever they go.

Keeping this in mind, why wouldn’t the small business owners, rather, all business owners, offer WiFi?

Here are some of the reasons businesses choose not to offer WiFi.

Myth 1: Too Much Technical Support is Necessary

Like most technologies, WiFi equipment was quite expensive as well as difficult to use when WiFi was first introduced in the market.

“There’s a lot of truth to the fact that when the technology was first produced, you had to be a little bit technologically savvy to be able to set it up,” rightly pointed out by John Gasowski, the director of Business Internet Product Management of Comcast.

Setting up a WiFi network for businesses need not always be a nerve-wracking experience.

With the Bring Your Own Device trend, today, a number of tablets and smartphones are making their way onto the corporate network. If you are late to join the WiFi bandwagon or looking forward to overhauling your wireless infrastructure, you need to consider

  • Frequency bands
  • Access points
  • Network management
  • 11ac standard

Myth 2: Offering WiFi Can Distract the Employees

Some managers are afraid that if they offer WiFi, the employees will spend more time on the social networking sites rather than doing their jobs.

WiFi ensures convenience and acts as a tool that the employees can use to perform their job better.

For most businesses, provision for WiFi is not optional but essential. The customers and employees depend upon a range of mobile devices that need internet connectivity. Provision for free WiFi ensures productivity and aids in remaining connected.

Just consider the following while offering employees WiFi.

  • Budget
  • Range
  • Security
  • Technical support options

If you are still worried about distraction, you can implement a few rules like refraining employees from using their cell phones.

Myth 3: Customers may Misuse WiFi

Several business houses today offer free WiFi to the customers. The businesses are quite afraid of the fact that offering internet access can hamper security. Someone may download the copyrighted materials while others may engage in illegal online activities. Though this may happen, you can always take a few measures to prevent it.

Some business owners are also afraid of the fact that the provision for free WiFi will make the customers hang around the premises for long, without spending much. Remember, that a survey found out that only a few customers hang around without spending much if you offer free WiFi.

You can use an encryption service or make the WiFi network password protected. Share this password only with the paying customers.

Myth 4: Offering WiFi is Expensive

According to a survey, as many as 32 percent of the respondents said that they do not offer WiFi as they feel that it would be too much of an expense.

Just like the changes introduced in WiFi equipment over years, the price has fluctuated a lot, too. Though the WiFi devices were somewhat expensive when they were first introduced in the market, nowadays, it is possible to find them at half the rate.

It is no longer necessary to buy expensive equipment, either. There are several companies today who offer WiFi at a monthly price. Moreover, there are also options to rent devices as well as cost saving packages.

Without creating a hole in the pocket, the business owners can make huge profits as WiFi draws customers, and increase sales.

The enterprise-grade WiFi set ups come with a range of analytical tools that increase the understanding of consumer behavior as well as activities. The consumers are getting accustomed to free WiFi access, and this is leading to elevating the level of expectation for free WiFi availability. Free WiFi is now available on private and public transport, libraries, hotels, restaurants and even churches. The businesses that are not following this trend must do so as soon as possible to help customers remain connected. Failure in doing this may prove to be detrimental for business.

Analytics, great employee and customer experience, as well as continual customer engagement, are some of the right reasons behind using WiFi for business. It’s high time and businesses must reconsider how WiFi can work for business, if it’s still not a part of your marketing strategy.

Free WiFi Photo via Shutterstock

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Steven Scheck


Steven Scheck Steven Scheck is the Principal of Inspire WiFi, the nationwide leader of WiFi networks for the multifamily, hospitality and healthcare industries. He is also very involved in philanthropic causes in Miami and nationally.

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One Reaction

  1. What about ‘my customers will use the wifi to go on Amazon and buy the same products cheaper’? Can you follow up this article with one about why businesses really aren’t offering wifi, or why they should?

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