UK retailer Debenhams is joining a growing list of high street stores and supermarkets to offer free instore WiFi for its customers, it has been revealed today. The move, which will allow shoppers to access store information and exclusive deals, as well as check sizes and availability free from their phone, makes Debenhams the latest retailer to provide free internet. Previous stores to give customers complimentary online access include Tesco and ASDA.
The free WiFi, powered by O2, will be promoted alongside the recently released Debenhams mobile application. Customers will be encouraged to use the app in conjunction with the WiFi to scan items of clothing instore in order to order items and check customer reviews.
Speaking about the development, Debenhams director Simon Forster said:
“We’re seeing the shape of shopping in the future emerging right before our eyes. With over 1m customers already with our app on their phones, free WiFi in stores has the potential to transform how people shop.”
The move comes after it was revealed that Debenhams received 20 per cent of its website traffic via mobile browsing, while its app also recorded 1 million downloads over its lifetime. Other retailers to successfully launch instore WiFi include Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and Tesco, with Dominos rumoured to launch its own online offering in the near future.
Speaking about the benefits of instore WiFi last month, Debenhams mobile commerce manager Sarah Baillie said:
“WiFi will become commonplace in retail stores in the future. There are many benefits of people engaging on mobile within the store: allowing them to double check prices against the website, read reviews or share products with friends for a second opinion. We’re also focusing on making payments easier, there’s still masses we can do to improve.”
Baillie’s comments came at the IAB Mobile Engage conference in London. She was speaking alongside representatives from Dominos Pizza and Marks & Spencer. Rosie Srao, mobile business development manager at Marks & Spencer commented:
“We positively encourage customers to use mobiles in store – it’s a new way to engage. It’s an opportunity to draw attention to things like online offers that they may not be aware of and capture them at that ideal moment.”