How to leverage free Wi-Fi to drive sales and customer loyalty

wifi marketing for restaurantsWi-Fi marketing is one of the most cost-effective and innovative ways for restaurants to increase customer loyalty and brand recall while using hardly any additional technical resources. If you own a restaurant or bar, you may consider the benefits of Wi-Fi marketing, but you may also have some questions about how it works, and what it can do for you.

How does Wi-Fi marketing work?

Wi-Fi marketing works by exchanging your establishment’s Wi-Fi services to your customers for their contact information. You can do this in a variety of ways, such as prompting customers for their mobile phone number, email address, or a social media profile. After you have collected this information, you will have a solid list of qualified customers who you can market, and remarket to, through SMS coupons, email promotions, and social media campaigns.

How much does Wi-Fi marketing cost?

If you already have Wi-Fi set up at your restaurant or bar, you’ll simply need to add a second portal to securely isolate your guest network from your private network. This is usually a small charge, and many establishments, if done correctly, have found that Wi-Fi marketing can make more money! Some success stories can demonstrate how increasing your marketing list can bring back customer more often, ensuring they spend more time and more money at your restaurant or bar.

This sounds technical; how will I manage it?

While it’s not very difficult to set up and manage, if you’re not tech-savvy, it will be best to work with a technology solutions provider to manage this for you. You’ll need to identify how and where your users log in, whether it’s through your website or social media, and you’ll need to make sure you’re tracking them correctly. There are options that allow you to customize, design, and brand your entrance pages. If you want it to look professional, we recommend hiring a qualified professional to execute it.

Is Wi-Fi marketing safe?

Wi-Fi marketing is as safe as any other public network that a user may use. When you opt into a public Wi-Fi connection, you are acknowledging the risk and agreeing to a terms of use policy.

“The user doesn’t have much control over the security component of Wi-Fi, says Anup Balagopal, CEO and Founder of Wi-Fi Waiter, an innovative company that allows users to skip the line and order directly on their mobile phones.

“However, they should only browse secured sites through public Wi-Fi, which are https enabled.  It is the responsibility of the merchant and Wi-Fi service provider to ensure security of the network by configuring firewall rules and not allowing peer to peer connection on the network,” advises Mr. Balagopal.

While it is common sense, you should advise your patrons not to share any passwords with anyone around them, or visit websites that contain sensitive information, such as a credit card.

What are some examples of businesses who have done this and what were the results?

Wi-Fi Waiter is a technology solutions provider that converts Wi-Fi in your restaurant into an ordering solution so that customers can place orders by connecting to Wi-Fi. In the last six months, it has found the following benefits for its clients:

  • The average ticket size increased by 15.8% compared to the average ticket size from orders collected at the counter.

  • 54% of the orders collected included an add-on, up-sale, or additional modifier.

  • 19% of the customers have used the service more than once over the past 6 months, leading to 42% of the total orders collected. This proves the high uptake of the service by loyal customers and high repeat usage.

  • 30% of the users who placed orders using Wi-Fi Waiter also accessed free Internet at the location.

    -source: Wi-Fi Waiter

Wi-Fi marketing isn’t just a winner with restaurants, it’s been demonstrated time and again to deliver stellar results across many different business types. With its data and leads collected, Charlotte Russe launched a campaign promoting happy hour called “Appy Hour,” and saw sales increase by 42% in a single day. Flip Flop Shops, a store located inside a shopping mall, offered free Wi-Fi to guests and offered them exclusive coupons when they logged in. With this campaign, the store saw nearly four new customers join their Wi-Fi each day, gained almost 1,000 new e-newsletter subscribers, and saw a 17% redemption rate on their coupons in an 8-month period.

Will people come just for the Wi-Fi and not buy anything?

While this may have been true to the first coffee shops that pioneered free Wi-Fi, and got stuck with students who stayed all day and didn’t buy anything, free Wi-Fi is no longer seen as a luxury, but something that will add value to your customers’ experience while visiting your establishment.

As an incentive for signing up for your newsletter to access your Wi-Fi, offer them a discount on a meal or drink – since they’re already inside your establishment, they could be more likely to make a purchase.

Will I be able to communicate to users on my Wi-Fi? Is this acceptable to most people?

If a user elects to use your Wi-Fi by exchanging contact information, they’ve already accepted that they’re open to being contacted by you to learn about specials, events, and other promotions you could offer them. In fact, this is your opportunity to make your marketing personal; you can use Wi-Fi marketing to send targeted, tailored messages to your patrons based on specific information about them such as their age, and the last time they visited.

By employing Wi-Fi marketing, your restaurant can connect with guests through automated marketing messages to bring them back.  Grow your brand’s social media following by directing them to your channels and leading them directly to promotional content to optimize your engagement.

Will this bring me more customers?

This is the whole reason we are telling you about this awesome marketing tactic! When Wi-Fi is used to collect customer information, this allows you to stay top of mind with your existing customers by keeping in touch with them – sending a special on their birthday, coupons to their mobile device, and other added benefits. Wi-Fi marketing has also been proven to increase the frequency of customer visits. According to Yelp, Wi-Fi marketing customers visit up to 80% more frequently vs those who don’t. If you’re providing your customers with a great dining experience, chances are they will return with friends and family, increasing the number of visitors, and customer retention overall.

If you want to capture valuable customer social data for marketing and connecting with your patrons, contact Absolute Marketing Solutions to partner with you and develop a long-term, effective strategy for harnessing the power of Wi-Fi marketing. Unleash the lower of Wi-Fi marketing for restaurants today!