A new survey has revealed that 82 per cent of people would be more likely to visit the high street if free Wi-Fi was offered, which could increase the UK’s high street footfall by 2.6 million.
Data from XLN’s Wi-Fi network shows that on average 1 million customers are spending 25 million minutes online a month using their service. That is 25 million minutes spent with independent high street businesses, not corporate chains.
Approximately 37,000 minutes are being spent browsing the internet at each independent business. Further to this, the average sessions per device over 6 months have increased by 32 per cent. Combined, these statistics show that customers are visiting Wi-Fi enabled local businesses more often and spending more time on the premises.
Phil Ayling and Duncan Neil, owners of Just Beerhave noticed the important boost that the ability to offer free customer Wi-Fi has brought them: “Wi-Fi is so important in this day and age. Without a free Wi-Fi service from XLN a company of our size would be struggling. The business couldn’t warrant paying the cost of something like The Cloud. But, as a business we would be missing out by not having Wi-Fi. So yeah, it’s a godsend for a small business like us. It drives a lot of footfall in through the door.”
Having seen the boost that the free Wi-Fi project has given to small businesses, Christian Nellemann, Founder of XLN was inspired to compose a manifesto – to save the high street.
A five-point plan is proposed and will be expanded on in the coming months with the aim to encourage the public to petition their local councils for action. Giving small businesses a free Wi-Fi service to compete with chains has been achieved; the next aims to be championed and pledged to government are:
- Teach businesses about the ways they can establish a presence online and why it’s important
- Show businesses that recruiting is a necessary expense for growth
- Make high streets accessible for everyone
- Freeze business rates
- Help businesses compete with big online retailers by creating communities
Nellemann comments: “It’s always been our ambition to do more than simply save small businesses money. We want to help them grow too – and XLN Wi-Fi is testament to that. It’s levelling the playing field for small businesses.”