Most shoppers would like to pay for their in-store purchases using a mobile app, according to a retail survey conducted online for Ruckus Networks by The Harris Poll in August 2018 among over 1,500 US adults aged 18-64, which aimed to determine how wi-fi in physical retail settings affects consumer attitudes and behaviour. This article is copyright 2018 The Best Customer Guide.

Perhaps more importantly, more than two-thirds of those surveyed said they were happy to trade their email address in return for free wi-fi while they're browsing in store. The caveat, of course, is that the wi-fi needs to be of useable quality and speed, no matter how many customers are using it at any given time.

Among the key findings of the survey:

  • Shoppers Want to Transact by App: More than three-quarters (79%) of adults would be interested in the ability to pay for an in-store purchase using the retailer's mobile app without needing to interact with a sales associate. Among younger Gen Zs and Millennials (adults ages 18-34), this number jumps to 87%. 82% of U.S. adults find it valuable to complete a purchase without having to wait in line. For example, a sales associate would be able to complete their sales transaction anywhere in the store using a mobile device.
  • Shoppers and Diners Really Care About the Wi-Fi: A majority of adults say it is important to have a good Wi-Fi connection while at coffee shops (69%), restaurants (64%), and retail stores (62%).
  • When It Comes to Wi-Fi, Retailers Need to Over-deliver: Nearly half (49%) of adults would have a negative impression of a retailer if free Wi-Fi was advertised at a location but they were unable to connect or experienced a poor connection. If unable to connect to Wi-Fi while at a retail location, two in five adults (43%) would spend less time there than originally planned.
  • A Fair Trade - My Email Address for Free Wi-Fi: More than two-thirds of U.S. adults (70%) would provide their name and email address in exchange for personalized offers at a retail location. Six in ten of Americans (60%) would provide their name and email in exchange for access to free Wi-Fi.
  • Shoppers Are Looking for Promotions: When connected to a retail location's Wi-Fi network, 42% of adults are looking for deals/coupons, 30% are using the retailer's app and 29% are comparison shopping. Additionally, 45% say they are checking email and 40% are browsing social media.

"Customer engagement and loyalty are prerequisites for retail success," said Greg Beach, Vice President of Wireless Products, Ruckus Networks. "These findings make it clear that uninterrupted, quality Wi-Fi is a must-have in retail environments. A poor Wi-Fi experience will send consumers elsewhere and can even disrupt transactions in progress."