“Do you have free WiFi?”
That’s becoming an increasingly common question for small business owners. And with good reason. Studies show businesses see a 72% success rate in increased sales after implementing free WiFi. Accenture reports that 64% of consumers make a restaurant decision based on WiFi availability.
Reaching out to wireless influencers, we discovered three main areas or focus for business owners who offer, or want to offer free WiFi: security, speed and management. Here’s what they had to say:
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No modern business can operate without Wi-Fi. Whether you run a one-person operation or a booming store that serves an increasingly cashless customer base, Wi-Fi is essential for functions as fundamental as communication and billing. Not to mention the nearly-mandatory demand for public Wi-Fi networks in retail stores.
“Wi-Fi is definitely a lifeline,” agrees Richard Jonker, NETGEAR’s Vice President, Small Business Product Line Management. “It’s more important than anything else.”
But installing and maintaining business Wi-Fi isn’t easy. To avoid the headaches and costs, some business owners are tempted to settle for the standard consumer-level setup furnished by their ISP. Jonker explains why this is a mistake:
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In an increasingly connected and crowded retail marketplace, a public Wi-Fi network can serve as a much-needed competitive differentiator. It can make wait times seem shorter, keep customers around longer, and encourage visitors to connect with your company online, becoming advocates of your business.
Wi-Fi is often integral to internal operations too, enabling seamless use of point-of-sale systems, employee devices, and administrative tools.
Unfortunately, installing a reliable business network is a deceptively difficult task that many business owners feel ill-equipped to handle. They understandably fear the cyber security risks and lack of control they’ll have if they offer a public network. Then there’s the added potential for new problems and nagging complaints, like connectivity issues or slow wireless speeds. Not only can issues like these pull you away from operating your business, they can also reflect poorly on the company.
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