Man in a coffee shop using the free wi-fi

How To Go Beyond Wi-Fi Marketing to Grow Your Brand


Are you using your store’s guest Wi-Fi to orchestrate better experiences for customers? If not, you are missing a valuable opportunity. According to a 2022 survey, 47%of American adults use public Wi-Fi regularly. More than a third (35%) of respondents said they use public Wi-Fi more now than they did before the pandemic.

Wi-Fi alone is just a connection to the internet. But when connected to an intelligent decisioning engine, it opens the door to capture more customer data, tailor website landing pages to facilitate in-store purchases, send personalized offers and promote other engagement channels.

The idea of using guest Wi-Fi to pinpoint customers’ locations and capture more opt-ins for automated marketing campaigns likely brings the term “Wi-Fi marketing” to mind. But when considered in the larger context of the customer journey, Wi-Fi becomes a catalyst for better CX business results.


Wi-Fi Bridges the Gap Between Digital and In-Store Experiences

Digitally native brands such as Amazon and Zappos dominate the retail industry because they offer seamless, intuitive experiences—from purchase and delivery to returns—across digital channels. For traditional businesses, the pressure is on to measure up to the “digital-first” expectations of customers.

How can they catch up? Merge digital and in-store experiences and use the Wi-Fi connection as a launch pad to send customers down the correct customer journey.

With the rise of mobile data consumption and retail media networks, Wi-Fi is no longer a cost but rather a massive revenue opportunity. A Forbes Advisor survey of 2,000 public WiFi users found that 35%of respondents access public Wi-Fi three to four times a month. According to that same survey, retail stores ranked among the top four public places where Wi-Fi is most commonly accessed. Connecting with customers as soon as they are in-store can be the trigger to deliver exceptional experiences in real-time.


4 Ways To Use Wi-Fi To Grow Your Brand


1. Capture customer data easily and progressively to build out customer profiles

Wi-Fi is one of the easiest ways to capture customer data through immediate opt-in. Imagine the first time Jordan connects to Wi-Fi at Starbucks, she provides her email address to access the Wi-Fi network. The next time, she must indicate her favorite coffee drink, and then her birthday and so on. Given how customers view Wi-Fi as a necessity, they will be more willing to hand over personal information if it grants them access. Over time, businesses can progressively build out a highly accurate customer profile.

From there, brands then use this customer data to send personalized messages, such as offering Jordan a discount on her favorite drink or queuing up her favorite breakfast order on the morning of her birthday. According to McKinsey research, most (78%) consumers said they’re more likely to make repeat purchases from companies that personalize. This is true personalization that increases engagement and generates more sales.


2. Use the landing page to personalize and promote purchase

Every consumer that connects to Wi-Fi and sees the landing page can take advantage of it. Today, many rely on a generic landing page instead of dynamically changing it based on the unique viewer accessing it.

With behavior-based segmentation, create a personalized page to streamline shopping in a brick-and-mortar store by telling customers where to find the items they’ve been looking at online. For example, David searches for vinyl plank flooring on the Home Depot website and then heads to the store to see the colors in person before choosing one. When Mark connects to Home Depot’s Wi-Fi network, he is immediately sent to a personalized landing page displaying vinyl plank flooring. The brand he was viewing online appears first, showing its location. Appreciating the time-saving information, David is able to quickly locate aisle three, check out the colors and pick up a sample.


3. Target customers with automatic reconnection in real time

When the customer is in the neighborhood and automatically connects to a business’ Wi-Fi network, brands can send a text message with a special offer. For example, Erin goes shopping at Sephora, which is next to Panera Bread. When she parks in Panera’s Wi-Fi-enabled parking lot, she automatically connects to their Wi-Fi network. Moments later, Erin, who uses Panera’s app, receives a notification offering her $3 off a salad during lunch hours. Not only does this bring Panera top of mind, but it also strengthens an emotional connection to a brand that truly understands Erin’s likes and preferences.


4. Increase multi-channel usage

Make Wi-Fi access contingent upon downloading the mobile app, opting in to receive email or text messages, or enrolling in a loyalty program. “Download our app to connect to Wi-Fi.” “Join our loyalty rewards program to gain access to our free guest wireless network.”

To sign up for the loyalty program, customers must provide their email address and certain demographic information—data points that are stored in the customer data profile for analytics and personalized communication. When customers opt in to receive emails or text messages, you can connect with them via these channels, increasing your brand’s reach. This is essential for the merging of in-store and digital experiences, especially as buy-online-pickup-in-store programs continue to gain traction.


How Do You Integrate Guest Wi-Fi in the Greater Customer Journey?

A journey-centric decisioning engine is needed to integrate public Wi-Fi into the customer journey and make it possible to immediately personalize the experience in real-time.

With a journey management system, easily detect that someone has connected to the Wi-Fi network, analyze recent customer behavior and determine which best action is right for that moment. For instance, you can review a customer’s browsing or purchase history to direct them to vinyl plank flooring on aisle three, or suggest they order a salad with a $3 discount code.

Reacting to Wi-Fi authentication in the moment means immediate gratification to help customers achieve their goals and appreciate your brand for helping them out along the way.


One Integrated Solution to Orchestrate Every Touchpoint

Incorporate your guest Wi-Fi into a comprehensive approach to master every single touchpoint customers have with your business. At CSG, our customer journey management platform CSG Xponent is here to make all the real-time decisions to deliver better business results. This customer experience solution is purpose-built with a customer data platform, journey orchestration, journey analytics and real-time decisioning at the core of the technology.

Xponent delivers the best experience regardless of time, place or channel—whether the customer comes to the brand, or the brand finds the customer. Xponent integrates with your existing systems—including CRM, billing, personalization platforms and marketing systems—with no need to rip and replace. With Xponent, public Wi-Fi will do more than connect customers to the internet–it will bring customers to your brand when they need it most.

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Danielle Pike Headshot

Danielle Pike

Sales Director, Customer Experience