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could free WiFi put retailers in a ‘Hotspot’?

20 April 2012

Shopping centre owner Land Securities plans to offer free WiFi access to shoppers. Retailers must be concerned that making it easier for customers to compare prices online may dent sales.

However, customers can already check prices using their mobile internet connection and WiFi availability links with other customer service improvements which should benefit retailers. For example at the White Rose shopping centre in Leeds an online search function has been launched (also available on mobile phones) that allows customers to find products in any of the centre’s stores and get further information like opening times and stock availability.

We think this type of offering will add value to the shopping experience and we expect to see it rolled out to other shopping centres soon. We agree with Land Securities’ commercial director who reportedly said: “… the internet isn’t going to be the end of the property industry. The two can co-exist and we’ve got to start creating a seamless experience for customers.”

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