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Debenhams launches free Wi-Fi to encourage m-commerce

19 June 2012 - 13:18 by Sarah Collinson

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If you head into one of Debenhams' many high street outlets in the near future, you will be able to connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot, completely free of charge.

This is because the chain has launched a new scheme in partnership with network provider O2, to give customers who visit its bricks and mortar stores access to a different way to shop.

The scheme is being implemented in 167 Debenhams stores across the UK, with Wi-Fi access being made available to anyone within the vicinity who has a compatible smartphone.

While anyone with a Wi-Fi device will be able to access the internet, the service is also being used to target those who have an iPhone or Android handset, encouraging them to carry out safe shopping online via the dedicated Debenhams application.

The m-commerce app is designed to integrate elements of in-store shopping with the world of online shopping, so it will not be something that drives customers away from bricks and mortar outlets, but actively encourages them to get involved.

Spokesperson, Simon Forster, explained that Debenhams was having to react to a shifting market in order to survive.

He pointed out that there are already a million smartphone owners in the UK who have downloaded the Debenhams application, although he believes that the free Wi-Fi rollout will result in this figure increasing significantly.

The m-commerce app offers a number of useful features, allowing customers to find an item they like in the store and, if it is not available in their size, scan the barcode to get the appropriate product delivered to their home, via safe shopping online.

This kind of seamless combination of m-commerce and in-store retail will allow companies like Debenhams to thrive, while less innovative or adaptive firms may end up out of business.