Wi-Fi is slowly but surely weaving itself into the fabric of the shopping experience. A Q4 2012 report from JiWire found that, worldwide, the number of public Wi-Fi locations climbed dramatically over a 12-month period—going from 682,929 in 2011 to 820,262 in 2012. The growing ubiquity of Wi-Fi has presented a challenge and an opportunity for brick-and-mortar retailers by putting powerful research tools in the hands of shoppers, but also providing them with new point-of-sale capabilities.
Shoppers are taking full advantage of the information they can access using their mobile devices. JiWire’s survey of US customers found that more than nine in 10 smart phone owners had used their device while at a physical store location. According to JiWire, both men and women who used in-store Wi-Fi on their phones were most often using it to compare prices, read customer reviews or hunt down coupons and other deals that could be used at the store’s physical location. Read the rest at eMarketer.