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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Retailers, Here's Why Free Wi-Fi is NOT an Optional Courtesy to Your Patrons

“Experiential marketing is a real industry now and needs to be included as part of the overall marketing and advertising canon.”  
– Elizabeth Shaffer, co-president of Gen Art.

“Experiential marketing is an essential part of what we do.” 
–  Billy Melnyk, Bacardi Senior Brand Manager

Let's face it. If you own a restaurant, book store, lounge, cafe, boutique or any other retail establishment where you'd prefer for people to congregate and possibly purchase things AND you don't provide free Wi-Fi as a courtesy to your patrons, please recognize that your establishment may be LAME.

Not to drop brand names, but since I purchased this iPad 2, I've become a real free Wi-Fi snob. If at any time I'm forced to wait for service the first thing I do is whip out the iPad and if your establishment doesn't have the value-added free Wi-Fi for my convenience, I'm liable to walk right out.

I should not have to upgrade to the 3G iPad to engage in all that is the mobile connectivity that my iPad affords. Brick and mortar establishments are in survival mode, fighting to stay relavent and alive in this age of online shopping and Craigslist. Along side "location, location, location" creating a retail experience is what keeps shoppers coming back.

News flash: There is no experiential shopping without the internet. Stop being cheap and hook a surfer up!

All of the nationals (McDonald's, Starbucks, Panera) recognize that the longer a patron is in your establishment, the greater the register receipt, cha-ching! Spend a little more upfront on free Wi-Fi and gain a ton in brand loyalty and increased shopper experience in the long run.

Kelliann McDonald is an award winning marketing and public relations strategist, personal branding coach, rainmaker and community advocate. A recognized brand motivator, McDonald connects people and ideas by designing tailored and engaging marketing communication campaigns for businesses looking to create a competitive advantage in today’s ever-evolving marketplace.
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