The Internet of Things  is right upon us.
Google is updating the search engine algorithms to favor mobile-friendly websites.
Today, people are making more use of the Internet while on the go and thus, they expect to access the WiFi hotspots while they are on the move.
The business houses of today are rushing to meet the demand of offering free WiFi to the customers. If you have a physical business space, offering free WiFi to your customers can provide you a series of advantages.
More Time Spent on Premises
One of the biggest benefits offered by free WiFi  is increased time spent on the premises. The customers are bound to stay longer if they can remain connected. As many as 62 percent of businesses pointed out that the customers spend more time in their facility or shop if WiFi access is offered. Around 50 percent of customers spend more money as well.
You must be thinking that the customers are simply hanging around, taking up the space but are not spending much.
You are wrong.
Only a few business owners pointed out that the customers spend less and simply hang around if free WiFi is made available.
No doubt, the goal of each business house is different when it comes to offering free WiFi to the customers. While some do it to offer better customer service, others do it to attract more customers. Some also deploy free WiFi to get the customers spend more.
The businesses that deployed it to serve customers better reported high success rates, a whopping 79 percent. The businesses that offered this service to increases sales numbers come next with a success rate of 72 percent.
Increased Foot Traffic
So you have already put up a sign at the corner of the street to gain more traffic. The brick and mortar businesses need much more than a sign spinner to acquire adequate foot traffic. Most people nowadays use GPS and the social mapping services like Google Maps, Yelp and Foursquare to find businesses. At times, they also search for specific amenities like free WiFi.
Offering fast and free WiFi at business can put your business on the map for individuals who may not notice you otherwise. Moreover, the customers who are passing by will see your network. This will work in the form of free advertisement on mobile devices.
Attracts New Customers
WiFi allows businesses like restaurants, cafes, and pubs to attract new customers. Sitting alone in a café or a restaurant is quite awkward. According to a survey, 53 percent of people are happy to sit alone in restaurants and cafes if WiFi is available. Free WiFi access helps to connect with friends removing the stigma of sitting alone.
Meets Customer Expectations
The consumers are slowly getting accustomed to free WiFi access and this is creating an expectation for free WiFi availability. Free WiFi is presently available on private and public transport, libraries, hotels, city centers, pubs and even churches. The businesses that do not offer free WiFi must embrace this trend, allowing the customers to remain connected to the online world. Failure to do so can prove to be quite damaging for business. One in 10 people leaves the venue in the absence of free WiFi access.
Helps Differentiate Business of Competitors
Quality and price were two traditional ways that helped businesses to differentiate themselves. Technology is forcing businesses to think again of this approach. We live in the age of smartphones. So providing free WiFi can provide a significant advantage over others. There are people who select venues based upon availability of free WiFi. Thus, your business is bound to have an advantage over your competitors if they do not offer free WiFi.
Improved Search Engine Ranking
Google is not just favoring the mobile friendly websites, but they are also starting to index content from the iOS apps. This means that the Google searches made on iPhone and iPad will search not just the internet but the device apps too. If your business is listed on a few apps, the search profile is bound to be raised, making it significantly more likely to show up in the search results and get clicked by the customers.
Enhanced Customer Tracking
Offering free WiFi does not just benefit the customers. If you can control the network connection, you can set your website as the homepage, accumulate customer data and target ads directly to devices. This will help the customers to be aware of add-ons, specials as well as other services on offer.
So judging the benefits, I don’t think that you will want to stop offering free WiFi  to your customers. The availability of WiFi is no longer an innovation that is limited to the bigger retail chains but today, even the small businesses are offering this service in their establishment, for both the customers as well as employees.
Free WiFi  Photo via Shutterstock