If digitail (digital in retail) is still an embryonic science, it is estimated that around 20-30% of stores in the US now provide free wifi access. For the remainder, reasons why retailers or mall owners (and the like) have not embraced offering free wifi most typically revolve around the cost argument. For many of the smaller boutiques, it can be a generational thing or a lack of expertise. For the bigger stores that still have not made the switch (e.g. GAP), I would tend to argue that the real reason is that the managers who are calling the shots are not interacting enough with their clients. When the HQ personnel go to the store, they probably have 3G or better on their smartphone of choice (on a company dime). When they go to stores, they have been programmed to look at how the merchandise is arranged, if the pricing is correct, if the signage is appropriate, and whether the staff fulfilling their duties. Actually looking at and understanding with empathy the customer’s experience is another affair. And, within that, the technology issue is oftentimes a foreign commodity. Yet, it doesn’t take much to see how omnipresent the mobile is in the aisles of stores.
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