It seems that these days anything can be a service. In fact, there is such a term as XaaS, which means precisely “anything as a service.” So why not WiFi? More and more businesses are considering this type of deployment, and more and more providers have it in their portfolios. So how to attract these customers to you and make your offer stand out? We’ve got some ideas!
The term “WiFi as a service” is used to reference the practice of outsourcing wireless network management to specialized external providers by businesses and companies that require WiFi services. Let’s say you’re a retail chain and you want to give wireless access to the customers in all your stores, because let’s be honest – these days it’s just a must. (Want to know why else guest WiFi is good for retail? Check out our WiFi for retailers page for details!) Why deal with all the hassle yourself, if you can have professionals do the hard work and instead focus on what you know best – running your business?
Although this is the main reason for companies to decide on going with WiFi as a service, by no means is it the only benefit to this solution. Other perks that service providers can offer their clients include:
As you can see, the benefits are plenty, so it’s no wonder that more and more businesses turn their gaze in this direction to solve their problems. The market is growing, but not everyone will get a piece of the cake. The competition between service providers to grab the attention of their clients is fierce and that’s why WiFi as a service is not enough on its own. You need a value add that will make your offer stand out. But how?
Thankfully, with value-added services, there are plenty of ways to sweeten up the deal for your clients. The two opportunities that make the most sense when it comes to WiFi are: adding a WiFi marketing platform and a WiFi indoor location engine. What are these and how do they benefit the client?
If your clients are companies that operate in open venues (such as retailers, banks, hotels, restaurants, etc.), then public wireless access for them is simply a business need at this point. But this doesn’t mean these companies need to just sink money on a non-profitable customer whim. They can, in fact, benefit from it greatly with the right tools.
Marketing platforms allow them to use wifi splash pages and landing pages as an extra advertising space where they can promote their best deals or lease the space to their tenants (in case of shopping malls). It also lets them collect information about their customers, most importantly – their contact info. This can be used for email marketing to keep in touch with end-customers even when they are no longer in the establishment. It also gives the business presence analytics that translate into plenty of data on their demographics that can be used to run more targeted marketing activities. On top of that, depending on the platform, it can also offer loyalty campaigns and a bunch of other useful features that ensure a return on investment.
With a dedicated engine, the data from access points (such as signal strength and MAC address) can be used to position devices within the building. This can be used by businesses in different ways. First of all, they can learn about customer behaviors, for example how people move around the venue. This in turn allows them to introduce changes and optimize the space to be more efficient or maximize comfort.
On the other hand, businesses can use wireless location to improve overall customer experience. Indoor location makes it possible to create interactive maps that guide customers to their car, the right shop they wanted to visit, or their designated gate at the airport. With the right app, it can also be used to quickly find and provide assistance to people with disabilities or in distress when they need it.
Finally, indoor location paired with WiFi marketing gives businesses the means to do proximity marketing, that is to advertise to people who are nearby. This gives them an unparalleled opportunity to run very targeted advertising to people who are literally within reach.
With a growing number of providers that are including WiFi as a service in their offer, any type of value-add can propel you ahead and make you stand out from the competition. Few upgrades, though, seem to be as well-motivated as marketing and indoor location that are offered on top of WiFi as a service. It’s a way to provide a complete package that turns a business necessity into an opportunity for growth and profit and who could say no to that?