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Free Wi-Fi connectivity comes to Marks & Spencer stores

30 August 2012 - 21:38 by Graham Miller

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Marks and Spencer is gearing up to roll out free Wi-Fi hotspots across all of its UK bricks and mortar outlets, with a trial being held at a flagship store in Liverpool, to see whether high street retail can intermingle with safe shopping online.

Chief exec, Marc Bolland, is going to spearhead the Wi-Fi campaign and give Marks & Spencer a new technological edge which veers away from its more traditional approach to retail.

The Wi-Fi networks are intended to allow shoppers to get out their smartphones and browse the store's full catalogue via safe shopping online, while still being encouraged to actually get out and visit Marks & Spencer locations rather than doing all of this from home.

The connectivity will also be used by dedicated shopping assistants within the stores, who will be equipped with their own iPad tablets and so be better able to serve the needs of the customers who require their help during a session of retail therapy.

A total of around £250 million is being spent by Marks & Spencer to improve in-store technology and also revamp its web services, according to the Telegraph.

Meanwhile, almost half a billion pounds has been earmarked for the opening of brand new shops, despite the fact that the high streets of Britain have taken a bit of a drubbing in recent years, as a result of the economic slowdown and the rise of e-commerce.

M&S is actually spending more cash than any other UK retailer on improving its technological assets, which is definitely going to be beneficial for those consumers who enjoy both e-commerce shopping and heading out to the high street.

By 2014, M&S has a target to reach a minimum of £800 million in sales via online shopping, although Mr Bolland has put an upper estimate on this of £1 billion.