Department store Debenhams has today announced the roll out of a new wifi service across 167 of its UK stores.
With the ability to send a picture of a garment to friends to check its suitability, the partnership with telecommunications company 02 will allow customers access to free wifi when in store via their smartphone or tablet.
A trial run of this service was conducted in three stores where users were able to check sizes, availability, online product reviews, receive discounts, a store layout plan and home deliveries for more cumbersome stock.
To enable the wifi, shoppers need to register to the 02 network, enabling them to use the service whenever they are in range without having to be on the provider’s tariff.
Gavin Franks, Managing Director of O2 Wifi, said of the partnership: “O2 Wifi has announced partnerships with leading brands in 2012.
“We are delighted to add Debenhams to our growing portfolio. Debenhams have realised the power of using in-store connectivity as a basis to bring innovative services to customers.
“We’re delighted that we are consistently being chosen as a partner by premium brands such as Debenhams.
“This marks a continuation of our fresh thinking that has seen the rapid growth of O2 Wifi.”
The department store aims to capitalise on the strength of its m-commerce offering as transactions taken via mobile phones currently account for 20 per cent of its total revenue.
Last week, IMRG Capgemini’s Quarterly Benchmark Index revealed that mobile shopping was a popular form of online buying; 8.2 per cent of virtual trading accounted was done via smartphones during the first quarter of 2012, rising just over 2,000 per cent compared to the same period two years ago, when it only represented 0.1 per cent of the sector.
This new initiative promises to provide Debenhams with the largest wifi coverage of any department store in the UK and so far one million users have downloaded the department store’s app.
Debenhams Director Simon Forster feels that this initiative feeds into consumer demand for virtual shopping.
“We’re seeing the shape of shopping in the future emerging right before our eyes,” he commented.
“With over one million customers already with our app on their phones, free Wifi in stores has the potential to transform how people shop.”