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Tesco touts Wi-Fi access at high street outlets

27 July 2011 - 10:12 by Mike Price

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Tesco could be embracing m-commerce in a big way by announcing a new scheme to enable customers to access free Wi-Fi networks within its vast number of supermarkets across the UK.

There is an undeniable shift in the way that people are carrying out their everyday retail, with people tending to use smartphones and tablets to research products via safe shopping online before heading to the high street to see if they can pick it up cheaply.

At the moment Tesco is trialling free Wi-Fi in four of its supermarkets but CIO, Mike McNamara, said that should this prove to be a success, it will be introducing wider Wi-Fi availability as fast as possible.

The good news for consumers is that most Tesco stores already have Wi-Fi networks in place for employee use, so it could be as simple as making minor changes to make sure public access is possible.

With 37 million square feet of floor space across the country the creation of a free Tesco Wi-Fi network would make it much easier for people to surf the web and enjoy safe shopping online when they are out and about.

Traditionally, most retailers have not offered Wi-Fi to consumers. Instead it has been available in coffee shops, libraries and businesses, but Tesco is looking to break with this trend.

It seems that Tesco might initially offer the Wi-Fi access only to customers who are signed up to its Club Card loyalty initiative. It is hoping to turn the physical properties of this card into something which users are increasingly able to use online in the digital arena, with Wi-Fi being just one aspect of this push.

Innovation in the high street which integrates aspects of e-commerce can only be a good thing for consumers and retailers.