A society ‘always-on’.  Did you know that the international WiFi market is expected to be worth over $93 billion (approx £72 billion) by 2018? *

What does this mean:

’71% of in-store shoppers who use smartphones for research say their device has become more important to their in-store experience’. Source: Google **

’52% of companies say Facebook is the most effective social channel for customer engagement, service and support’. Source: Social Media Today **

Hospitality: ‘Fully engaged hotel guests spend 46% more per year than actively disengaged guests spend’. Source: Gallup Data **

Our need to be constantly online has led businesses to some very exciting marketing opportunities that weren’t available previously, but these opportunities come with some very strict legislation around data that hasn’t been acknowledged by some businesses.

Public access WiFi gives you the chance to discover exactly who your customers are, what their interests are, what they bought online last and their social media activity. Every time your customer ‘likes’ something it helps you to build a better profile of them, meaning your marketing communications can be much more relevant and targeted – think bespoke communications via email / SMS / advertising via different devices.

Mobile has already established itself as the most important marketing channel for retail, for brands this means gaining complete knowledge to market to potential consumers via personalised / relevant and timely messaging. To reiterate the growth and strength of the mobile market; during Christmas 2016, of every £10 spent online in the UK, £4.10 came from a mobile device!

This is all very well BUT there is one question, how do you ethically gather data from public access WiFi and market to these prospects?

Firstly check the legislation, it sounds like an obvious statement but so many don’t take the time to read the nitty gritty….it is best practice for brands to be cautious and avoid any legal risks; in summary:

Store data correctly – data protection is key, as a public access WiFi provider you must be aware of your obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998. When personal data is collected about individuals in should stored as per the regulations of the Act and registered with the Information Commissioners Office.

Provide content filtering – content filtering is the use of a program to exclude / screen access to specific web pages or email that is deemed unsuitable. This is not a legal requirement as yet but brands should definitely be using this functionality as it ensures that only IWF approved public access to the internet is provided.

Ensure user details are collected to track back activity – The Digital Economy Act 2010 monitors online copyright infringement by the end user. It covers inappropriate and illegal file sharing and downloading – as a public access WiFi provider you should take the necessary steps to prevent copyright infringement – users must register and accept terms and conditions that cover inappropriate use.

If you stick to the rules and regulations providing public access WiFi and market smartly to the data you collect, you can open opportunities for your business that you never had before.

Is public access WiFi for you? For more information on enhancing your customers’ experience by providing them with fully authenticated Public Access WiFi, click here.

References for further reading:

*Markets and Markets
** Customer Engagement Stats