Here at Purple, we’re always excited to learn how customer experience is being shaped by WiFi across different sectors. So, we set out to survey over 1,000 people about how they use WiFi in bars and restaurants and the results were conclusive. The provision of free WiFi increases customer satisfaction and repeat business.

Take a look at our infographic below:

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Eight out of ten people said being able to use WiFi in a bar or restaurant would contribute towards a positive, personalised experience. In the age group 35-44, that figure rose to 90%. In addition, nearly two thirds (60%) said being able to use WiFi when out for a drink or meal would increase their customer loyalty.

Our survey results prove that there is clear demand for WiFi in bars and restaurants. If it’s available, over half (55%) said they sometimes use it, while 4 in 10 always log in. Favourite uses for WiFi included browsing the Internet (84% do this while out socialising) and keeping in touch with friends (58% use free WiFi for this).

Drilling down further into the survey results, there was also confirmation that using WiFi combined with analytics and marketing tools can further boost business. By offering free WiFi to guests, accessed by social login, bars and restaurants are able to understand more about their customers, including their gender, age, hometown, interests. They can also track how often they come back. These insights help create more timely, relevant and valuable interactions, which the survey proved to be welcomed by customers.

For instance:

• Over half (51%) said being rewarded for spending a certain amount, or visiting a number of times, would make them more likely to come back.
• Over a third (35%) said that being able to access exclusive gifts or offers via WiFi would make them a more devoted customer.
• 45% said being offered money off their bill for paying online, or via an app, would increase their loyalty (this figure rose to 51% of respondents aged 45-54)

Our survey also highlights a need for bars and restaurants to maximise online marketing opportunities and project a positive online image. Three out of ten said that they use the public WiFi in bars and restaurants to check for promotions on drinks and food, which presents an opportunity for venues to create appealing offers. Just under a quarter of people use it to look for reviews – great news for venues with an impeccable online reputation.

Providing WiFi, and gathering customer data as a result, opens up a means of marketing to people after they leave the venue. But, as our survey reveals, customers have strong preferences regarding how this should be done. Eight out of ten people would prefer to receive information and offers by email, while just under a third preferred contact via an app, and a quarter would opt for SMS communications. Only 10% would like to receive snail mail, and 5% would prefer a phone call.

Venues that misuse the marketing opportunity opened up by WiFi analytics by failing to target communications effectively are likely to alienate customers rather than earn their allegiance. Two thirds of survey respondents (64%) said receiving irrelevant messages from a brand negatively affects their customer loyalty.

Our survey gives confidence to bars and restaurants that the investment of providing free guest WiFi can be offset by the business benefits it brings. Gavin Wheeldon, our CEO, says, “We’re pleased that our survey confirms how WiFi differentiates bars and restaurants from competitors and helps drive repeat custom. There’s a huge opportunity for venue owners to respond to the demand for WiFi and utilise it for targeted and timely marketing. It’s a massive help in turning casual customers into brand ambassadors.”