UK chain Debenhams has announced it will now offer free Wi-Fi in its stores, following a successful trial in three of its branches.
The O2 powered system will now compliment the Debenhams mobile app which was also unveiled recently.
The service will act in a similar way to John Lewis’s and Marks & Spencer’s existing system in giving consumers the chance to peruse the full selection on offer via their smartphones as well as ordering out-of-stock items on the spot. Debenhams are also said to be confident that the benefits will outweigh the familiar threat of price comparison sites. There has been some concern over shoppers using sites such as EBay and Amazon to find the best prices across different stores before purchasing online.
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However, Debenhams has revealed that 20 percent of its online traffic now comes from mobile devices, indicating that online rivals are a small price to pay for a multichannel approach. The existing mobile app already caters for 250,000 barcode scans in-store too, making the overall service from the retailer as comprehensive as possible.
Across the 167 stores in the UK, customers connected to the Wi-Fi will also receive discount vouchers for their loyalty while having access to the full range of the shop’s products, even if they are not available in-store or in a certain size.
Debenhams Director, Simon Foster has confirmed the necessity for the company to move into this market: "We’re seeing the shape of shopping in the future emerging right before our eyes.
"With over one million customers already with our app on their phones, free Wi-Fi in stores has the potential to transform how people shop.”
It is thought that UK retailers are missing out on up to £4 billion at present, as a consequence of inadequate mobile-web strategies.