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Pretty_Lilly's avatar

Why do some businesses advertise free Wi-Fi ?

Asked by Pretty_Lilly (4655points) April 26th, 2010

I understand restaurants,fast food places,coffee shops,book stores etc.etc,,,places where a person could sit down,hang out for a few minutes and boot up their PC to surf the net .
but why Office Depot, Home Depot ,Grocery stores and the like,even bother to offer it ? Wouldn’t it be a waste of money to set up free Wi-Fi access to the public as its not as people are going to come in and walk around the store with their PC on the shopping cart surfing the net or checking emails ?

Recently,I’ve seen a Lumber Yard advertise how they have free Wi-Fi . As if people are going to come in just because of it and while there,decide to buy some 2×4s

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11 Answers

jfos's avatar

1) To seem modern and give people the option, in a last-ditch marketing scheme
2) The Wi-Fi abbreviation that they are using actually stands for Wizard-Fights.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

It’s not so much for PCs than smartphones, I’m thinking.

Snarp's avatar


MrItty's avatar

My half-sister has an iPod Touch. She’s in love with it. I’m willing to bet a non-trivial amount of money that if a grocery store advertised free wifi and it kept her entertained on shopping trips, her mother would be more likely to frequent that grocery store.

CaptainHarley's avatar

They’re trying to attract the laptop-carrying crowd.

john65pennington's avatar

Its advertising to attract customers. say you have something you need to check online and do not have a laptop. something you might need to make a copy of. look for a business that offers free Wi Fi. after all, you are already in their store, so why not buy a 2×4 or two?

njnyjobs's avatar

The businesses that offer the Free Wi-Fi already have the infrastructure in place, so there is practically no additional cost to them by offering the service to the public.

Where I grocery shop, cellphone signal is non-existent inside the store past the check-out counters, but by hooking up to the wi-fi in the store, I am enabling my smartphone to get connected to the telephone network using UMA.

Businesses use the Free Wi-Fi as a business tool. Most consumers are easily attracted at the prospects of getting free stuff. It may have the same effect for Wi-Fi. Consumers are attracted to the “Free” stuff, so we patronize the establishment that provides that fix.

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

@john65pennington Yeah, I see your point.
If I bought a 2×4 it would definitely help me in acquiring a new Laptop ! ; P

Blackberry's avatar

Yes, smartphones. I have the option to use my own 3G or Wi-Fi.

Buttonstc's avatar

As well as the established locals, it would also attract those new to town as well as smartphone carrying travelers.

As long as they’re there, they’ll usually buy something.

I abhor McDonalds food, but since they’re one of the most likely places to have wi fi access when I’m traveling, I ended up discovering that their coffee is more than decent. I’m now a loyal Mickey Ds coffee drinker, not only when traveling away from home but year round as well.

As was mentioned earlier,it doesn’t cost a business extra to offer it if they have a router set up anyway, so why not?

Unlikely I’d go to a Limber yard, but it does them no harm to offer it.

It also puts them on the lists of the various wi fi finder applications available. Free advertising for their business name.

The only possible downside I can see is if they fail to properly isolate and encrypt the propietary business info and records from the rest of the system. Presumably they wouldn’t be dumb enough to be careless about that.

Buttonstc's avatar

Edit: caught it too late to change but I meant Lumber yard, not limber :)

One of the problems of Fluthering fat fingered on an iPhone :)

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