WiFi: Why It s an Essential Amenity for Small Business

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1 INTERNET VOICE TELEVISION NETWORK SERVICES CLOUD SERVICES WiFi: Why It s an Essential Amenity for Small Business Michael Harris Kinetic Strategies

2 WiFi: Why It s an Essential Amenity for Small Business 2 OUT OF 3 consumers say WiFi availability influences where they shop WiFi Is an Ideal Offering for Restaurants and Bars Cafés and Bakeries Medical and Dental Offices Retailers and Specialty Stores Automotive Sales and Repair Health Clubs and Gyms Salons and Spas Barber Shops and Laundromats Amusement and Entertainment Financial and Legal Firms WiFi Hotspot Advantages Free advertising Drive traffic Promote at point of sale Easy for customers to locate Easy to use portal With 70 percent of U.S. consumers owning a WiFi-enabled device such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop, wireless Internet access on the go has evolved from a nice-to-have option to an essential and expected amenity.¹ Indeed, one-third of mobile device users take advantage of a public WiFi hotspot at least weekly.² More than two out of three consumers say WiFi availability influences their decisions about where to shop.³ While WiFi is a powerful way to attract and retain customers, it is not practical for most businesses to become Internet service providers. To minimize operating costs and complexity while maximizing the marketing potential of WiFi, partnering with turnkey hotspot service providers may be an attractive option. With a WiFi service partner that handles equipment installation, service management and ongoing customer support, businesses are free to focus on their core operations. Why Offer WiFi The benefits of WiFi access for customers are clear. When away from home or the office, WiFi enables people to connect using their preferred devices, including WiFi-enabled laptops, tablets and smartphones. But what are the business benefits of offering WiFi? In addition to being able to offer an appreciated amenity to existing customers, businesses can attract new ones by partnering with a WiFi hotspot partner with broad marketing reach. Hotspot locations are featured in directories delivered through a service provider s web site and mobile applications. As WiFi users decide where to shop or dine, such directories can act as a funnel for new customers. Some WiFi providers also enable businesses to customize the welcome screen customers see when connecting to the network, delivering a unique opportunity to promote products, services, and special offers to customers at the time of purchase. One such customer is Bob Villhard, an intellectual property attorney with the Villhard Patent Group in Austin, TX. Connecting with WiFi Internet access on the go is essential for his work. During lunch time I ll head out to anywhere I can get WiFi, continue working and meet clients there, Villhard explains. If I m between meetings I will stop somewhere and work cafes and coffee shops it makes doing my job a lot more pleasant. 70% of consumers prefer restaurants and cafes with WiFi hotpots Adding WiFi to the Menu In a recent survey, 70 percent of consumers said they preferred restaurants and cafes with WiFi hotpots. 4 To capitalize on this craving eateries are increasingly adding WiFi to their menus. A national restaurant chain reported that offering WiFi has delivered a 15 percent increase in revenue. 5 Likewise, a regional foodservice franchisee also pointed to WiFi as a key ingredient for double-digit sales growth across its 11 locations. 6 Shelly Wong owns and operates Café 32 in Overland Park, KS, a major business hub in the Kansas City area. To cater to the high concentration of technology, healthcare and financial service workers in the area, Wong looked for an Internet service provider who offered a WiFi hotspot service. 1

3 Because we have many business customers, I knew a WiFi hotspot would be appreciated, Wong said. With WiFi our customers are more comfortable and they want to stay longer. Customers spending more time in Café 32 are also spending more money, contributing to a noticeable increase in restaurant revenue. With WiFi, customers stay here longer, spend more money. -Charles Milligan, owner, Doc s Bar & Grill, Austin, TX Partnering with a WiFi hotspot service provider has allowed Wong to focus on running her restaurant, rather than managing an Internet service. The ability to customize the logon screen for customers visiting Café 32 has proved to be another valued feature. Wong says not only is she able to promote specials at Café 32, she advertises and drives customers to a second restaurant she owns and operates in the area. Doc s Bar & Grill in Austin, TX, is also benefiting from offering its customers a WiFi hotspot. With Austin being a tech-savvy town, people will leave the office, come here to do work and then hang out. They stay here longer, spend more money, call friends and are having their meetings here, said Charles Milligan, owner of Doc s Bar & Grill. WiFi hotspot service has also become an essential ingredient for fun at Doc s. Fantasy sports is a huge thing. If you come in here on a Saturday or Sunday you ll see people watching games on their computers and their phones. Being able to partner with a WiFi hotspot service provider has proven to be a major operational benefit for the restaurant. I m not a tech savvy or IT guy. To be able to count on people who understand the business and help promote it, as well as help educate my staff and management, it s a great deal, Milligan added. Two-thirds of consumers say free in-store WiFi would enhance their shopping experience. Mobile Consumer Device Ownership 80% 60% 40% 20% 74% 52% Making Retail Connections WiFi can be a winner for retail businesses. It s easy to build a case for having WiFi in stores, respected management consulting firm Deloitte counsels. 7 Research finds that 74 percent of mobile consumers own a smartphone and 52 percent own a tablet (such as an ipad) 8 and they use them to peruse options while shopping at retail outlets. By offering WiFi access, retailers can extend the point of sale from the cash register to the customer s smartphone or tablet. Using their mobile device and WiFi, shoppers within a store can check a retailer s product availability, access a store map, view available discounts and loyalty offers, ask for help from an associate, and even make an online purchase onsite. Not surprisingly, nearly two-thirds of consumers surveyed said having access to free in-store WiFi would enhance their shopping experience. 9 Waiting with WiFi WiFi access transforms any waiting room into a center for personal productivity, communication or entertainment. Being able to work while waiting for an appointment in a hair salon, doctor s office, or automotive repair shop can make a world of difference in today s time-crunched world. The same goes for helping a harried parent relax in the waiting room after connecting their kids with the mobile games or entertainment they enjoy at home. 2 Smartphone Tablet Salon Paul/Florent is in Studio City, CA, is well-known for its distinctive haircutting and styling approach, as well as its comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. Clients are served wine, coffee or tea as well as high-speed WiFi Internet as they wait for their appointment.

4 2 OUT OF 3 consumers say free in-store WiFi would enhance their shopping experience Clients use WiFi to surf the web just for fun or search for hair styles and give us examples. They also use it to check s and do some business while they have the chance. It s great while they are waiting, said Paul McKay, owner of Salon Paul/Florent. A One-Stop WiFi Solution Time Warner Cable Business Class (TWCBC) offers an innovative WiFi hotspot access solution for its commercial High-Speed Internet service customers, including Café 32, Doc s Bar & Grill and Salon Paul/Florent. TWCBC installs and maintains a dedicated WiFi access modem at the business customer s location without added equipment or service costs. This way all public WiFi traffic is separated from the business s private Internet connection, eliminating concerns about shared security and bandwidth. TWCBC also provides all WiFi end-user support through a 24/7 toll free telephone number. Businesses appreciate the ability to configure their hotspot for customers with a Self-Service Management Portal. The solution allows each business to customize their WiFi hotspot welcome page by adding their company name and logo, as well marketing messages and offers. Through the portal, businesses can also set a daily time limit for WiFi users at their location, ranging from 10 to 30 minutes. Qualified Time Warner Cable Internet Customers (Residential and Business) get unlimited free access. Business locations with a hotspot are listed on an online map and in a mobile application making it easy for potential customers to find the business. Additionally, businesses may receive signs and posters from TWCBC to advertise hotspot availability at their location. Now that 70 percent of consumers own a WiFi capable device, wireless Internet access on the go is an essential amenity. By partnering with cable companies, businesses gain access to a unique no-cost, high-performance WiFi solution that can delight current customers and attract new ones. About the Author Michael Harris is principal consultant at Phoenix, Arizona-based Kinetic Strategies, Inc. Applying more than 15 years of experience as a strategist, research analyst and journalist, Michael consults with select clients in the networking, Internet and telecommunications industries. About Time Warner Cable Business Services Time Warner Cable Business Services, a division of Time Warner Cable, offers a full complement of business communications tools to small, medium and enterprise-sized companies under its Time Warner Cable Business Class brand. Its Internet, voice, television, network and cloud services are enhanced by award-winning customer service and local support teams. Through its NaviSite subsidiary, Time Warner Cable Business Services also offers scalable managed services, including application services, enterprise hosting, and managed cloud services primarily in the U.S. and U.K. Time Warner Cable Business Services, founded in 1998, serves approximately 625,000 business customers throughout Time Warner Cable's service areas. For more information, visit Time Warner Cable. All Rights Reserved. 3

5 1 The Impact of WiFi Service in Restaurants on Customers Likelihood of Return to a Restaurant, Journal of Foodservice Business Research (2012) 2 What Do Consumers Want from WiFi? Insights from Cisco IBSG Consumer Research (May 2012) 3 Synthesized from JiWire Mobile Audience Insights Report Q and Pew Research Center Global Attitudes Project (December 2012) 4 The Impact of WiFi Service in Restaurants on Customers Likelihood of Return to a Restaurant, Journal of Foodservice Business Research (2012) 5 USA Today, Talking Tech: Panera Bread WiFi (May ) 6 WiFi gets a high-five from customers, Franchise Times (February 2012) 7 Why WiFi: In-Store Engagement for the Constantly Connected Customer, Deloitte (2011) 8 Frank N. Magid Associates, Smartphones and Tablets: the Heartbeat of Connected Culture (October 2013) 9 SapientNitro and GfK Roper 4

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