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WHSmith joins retailers offering free Wi-Fi

Tuesday October 2 2012

Deal with The Cloud is designed to enhance instore experience in time for busy Christmas trading season

High Street retailer WHSmith has signed a deal with Wi-Fi provider The Cloud to offer free wireless internet access to customers in 603 of its stores across the UK.

The retailer is hoping the service, which is being rolled out now in time for Christmas, will enhance the shopping experience of its customers. Having fast, reliable Wi-Fi in place will also allow customers to more easily demo the full features of the Kobo eReaders on offer instore.

Capitalising on mobile explosion

Research from On Device Research, carried out early this year, suggested a mobile shopping boom with 60% of consumers using mobile internet while shopping. A survey carried out by E-Consultancy in June also found nearly one in five (19%) used it to compare prices and look at product reviews instore.

The new WHSmith’s Wi-Fi service will offer customers the ability to read reviews online, discuss purchases on social networks or any other online activity without needing to use 3G connectivity. Instead, by connecting to the free Wi-Fi, customers will enjoy faster browsing, with a WHSmith landing page designed to improve the shopping experience through store information, special offers and various other features.

Ian Sanders, WHSmith group business development director, said: “We are always looking for ways to enhance our customers’ shopping experience. The internet allows us to provide a lot of extra information that was previously unavailable in-store, for example in-depth book reviews, product lists or search functions. It’s about bringing the High Street and online together in a way that works for our customers - free Wi-Fi access does this. Our customers can use our services specifically or they can browse the wider internet. Ultimately they get an enhanced shopping experience and that benefits everyone.”

Fast-growing trend on High Street

In addition to allowing customers to access and browse the internet, the service will also be used for the Kobo eReader range available in store. The devices will be connected to The Cloud’s Wi-Fi network, enabling customers to preview all the features of each device before they buy.

The retailer also joins a growing number who have already introduced free Wi-Fi instore. Mobile phone company Phones4U most recently joined the likes of Ted Baker and House of Fraser in signing up to The Cloud’s offering. Rival provider BT has also claims GAME and John Lewis among its recent signings too.

Tagged as: WHSmith | The Cloud | Wi-Fi | wireless | internet | e-commerce | instore | online | marketing | customer | data