Consumers want free Wi-Fi in-store to improve shopping experience

May 22, 2015, 9:00 AM UTC

A third of consumers would like retailers to have free Wi-Fi as standard, new research from YouGov finds.

The Innovations in Retailing 2015 report shows that free Wi-Fi is one of the innovations consumers would most like to see as standard when visiting a retailer (35%). It is just behind self-service checkouts (40%) but more popular than staff equipped with tablets to help customers with in-store purchases (21%) and scannable bar codes giving information on products (19%)

The research makes it clear that as well as being one of the pieces of technology consumers would most like to see, it is also the one that is most likely to encourage consumers to select a particular shop.

When asked what technology would encourage consumers to choose a particular retailer over another, free in-store Wi-Fi tops the list (30%). It comes ahead of self-service checkouts (29%), staff equipped with tablets (22%) to help consumers find out information about products and scannable barcodes that give information on products (20%). YouGov’s report suggests that consumers prefer technology to be practical and make their shopping experience more straight forward. Options such as interactive store windows (13%) and virtual mirrors (9%) receive less support.

Consumers seem increasingly keen on using connected devices as part of their shopping experience. Almost a quarter (23%) of consumers questioned have compared prices whilst in-store using devices such as smartphones and tablets. This figure rises to three in ten (30%) for 16-24 year olds and a third (33%) among 25-29 year olds have compared prices whilst in-store.

James McCoy, Research Director of YouGov Reports, says: 'Consumers are increasingly looking to merge their in-store and online shopping experiences. They want to use it to both find out more about the products they are considering buying but also to check whether they can getting a better deal elsewhere. Some retailers have already moved in this direction; both Tesco and ASDA have launched free in-store Wi-Fi to allow customers to access product information, recipes and find out the latest offers and deals. Consumers clearly want it and many are already using it. It could well be in retailers’ interests to listen to these calls.'

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