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Shopping centre pioneers social Wi-Fi

By Retail Technology | Tuesday December 10 2013

Kingsgate in Huddersfield builds brand awareness and improves targeted marketing capabilities with new free Wi-Fi service that offers single social sign-on

The Kingsgate Shopping Centre has become one of the first public venues adopt Wi-Fi technology that enables visitors to sign in via their social profiles, removing the need for usernames and passwords.

The shopping destination, located in the centre of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, has also been able to use marketing and data analytics built into the new wireless communications system to improve customer marketing and build brand awareness.

The Kingsgate management team wanted to provide a secure and legally compliant wireless technology solution for providing its visitors free public Wi-Fi. While they recognised the need to keep pace with this growing trend, they also wanted to minimise investment levels in terms of both time and money.

Retailer and customer benefits

Jonathan Hardy, Kingsgate centre manager, said: “We wanted to provide our customers with easy access to the internet, while allowing up to promote real-time offers within the centre. This way, both our shoppers and retailers benefit.”

The centre selected ‘social Wi-Fi’ provider, Purple WiFi, to install Cisco Meraki equipment alongside its cloud-based management software, which answered the requirement for the system to be managed by non-technical staff. The Purple WiFi development team also provided a personalised login page for Kingsgate to promote offers, communicate news and generally engage with shoppers that the centre’s management team can amend to keep its marketing and social media messaging up to date.

The system also offers Kingsgate the opportunity to help its tenant retailers promote their brands using potential future marketing opportunities through personalised splash pages.

Hardy continued: “The idea of the free Wi-Fi facility was borne out of the desire for Kingsgate to offer a service that could not be achieved elsewhere in the town, vis-à-vis providing unobtrusive access without the need for customers to be inconvenienced by entering into detailed and time consuming sign up procedures – rather by offering a single click access through either Facebook or Twitter.

Enhanced marketing management

“In return, obviously we have benefitted from linked access to data, which we would not have had otherwise. And we are able to improve our targeted marketing to select specific demographic traits and thereby make our campaigns more efficient.” 

He concluded: “The installation of the hardware was unobtrusive and swift and we received excellent instruction on its capabilities. The feedback we have received from customers has been positive and the system is now seen as a benefit, which has become almost expected in modern life. We are proud to have been at the forefront of offering this free service at an early stage and look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with Purple Wifi.”

The majority shareholders in Kingsgate are the principal shareholders of shopping centre asset manager, developer and investor WD.

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