Using Your WiFi to Sell to Your Customers

Using Gazella WiFi to Sell to Your Customers

These days, if you run a coffee shop or restaurant, you have to offer free WiFi service to your customers or you will lose them to competitors. For most food establishments that means that WiFi is just another cost of doing business.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Enter Gazella Wifi

Gazella Wifi, an Omaha, Nebraska-based startup, has figured out a way to turn free WiFi from a cost into a loss leader. The company provides businesses with a modified WiFi router that requires their customers to provide their email or Facebook addresses to obtain WiFi access.

That simple step allows the establishments to bring in more customers. Redirecting customers to a home page and gathering email and Facebook addresses of customers is a powerful marketing tool. It allows businesses to get more Facebook likes; send more coupons to customers; encourage more app downloads; cross-promote establishments; and reward customers for repeat visits. And as you no doubt know, bringing your customers back more often boosts your revenues and, consequently, your business’s bottom line.

The name of the game in marketing is to keep your business top of mind with customers. Sending a BOGO coupon isn’t about pushing your customers to run out to your establishment, but, rather, to keep your company in their “consideration set” when they are thinking of going out for a coffee or heading out for lunch.

Because people only choose to patronize establishments in their consideration set, getting promotional materials out to customers is key. With the rising amount of time people spend on their computers and mobile devices that means reaching them through Facebook or email. Using the USPS for that is a couple of decades out of date.

Mickey Spillanes, is a bar and restaurant in Eastchester, New York, where you can get the kind of fish and chips and corned beef they make in Ireland. The company used the Gazella system to supplement their social media campaigns and email marketing. They send out coupons to all the Facebook accounts and email addresses they have gathered from their free WiFi signups. That keeps them top of mind with customers and helps boost sales.

Dudley’s Pizza is a great Omaha, Nebraska pizza place offering pies with 20 different toppings, five sauces and four cheeses. They use the Gazella system to promote their movie theater next door. Knowing the email addresses of their customers allows Dudley’s to suggest that customers try taking their kids out to see the G-rated movie when it comes to town, or having a pizza and a flick for date night.

You can use a Gazella system to set up automatic triggers that reward, alert and retain customers. Think that contacting customers after the first, third visit or tenth visit makes sense? Set up automatic email messages to customers. Worried that people haven’t come in a while? Reach out to customers who haven’t visited for a while with reminder emails after whatever time period you set.

Or do you want to reward people for coming back again and again? The Session Room is an Omaha-based bar and restaurant with live music — the kind of place where you can eat nachos and hear the best new live band. They use Gazella WiFi to figure out when customers have returned so they can reward them with a free appetizer on their latest visit.

Are you still asking your customers to drop their business card in a fish bowl? That’s a little 1970s for today’s world. You might try a free WiFi system like this one instead to boost your marketing effort.

WiFi Photo via Shutterstock

Scott Shane Scott Shane is A. Malachi Mixon III, Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University. He is the author of nine books, including Fool's Gold: The Truth Behind Angel Investing in America ; Illusions of Entrepreneurship: and The Costly Myths that Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live By.