Study Finds 28% of Retailers Report Increased Customer Loyalty Due to In-Store WiFi

IHL Group Shares Preliminary Findings of New Study on Technology and the Store Experience, Sponsored by EarthLink and AirTight Networks

Jan 13, 2015, 08:30 ET from EarthLink Holdings Corp.

NEW YORK, Jan. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION SHOW, Booth #3769 -- EarthLink Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: ELNK), a leading managed network and cloud solutions provider for multi-location businesses including hundreds of national retailers, recently partnered with experts from research consultants IHL Group and cloud-managed WiFi solutions provider AirTight Networks to conduct one of the first-ever studies that provides unique insights into the retail industry's plans for store networking, WiFi, security and engagement.

Preliminary findings include:

  • 82% of  large to medium-sized retail participants have already deployed in-store WiFi
  • 57% of enterprise retail participants offer both customer and employee WiFi
  • 27.5% of retailers report that customer loyalty increased due to deploying in-store customer WiFi
  • 70% of retail participants currently outsource their store level WAN to managed service providers
  • 34% of retail participants will update their store level WiFi technologies in 2015

"Our goal with this study is to establish actionable benchmark numbers that help retail IT executives compare the state of their store technology against others in the industry. As many plan to invest in technologies like in-store WiFi, payment systems, PCI compliance and security to keep customers loyal while protecting their data, it's important to understand the benefits and challenges others have already experienced," said Greg Buzek, IHL. "Up to 82% of retailers have already deployed in-store WiFi and nearly 28% report increased customer loyalty since deploying the technology. Not surprisingly with these results, 34% of those already using WiFi are upgrading capacity in 2015."

Once analysis of the final study data is complete, IHL, EarthLink and AirTight plan to release a benchmarking tool to enable retailers to see where they stack up, learn best practices, and develop a technology roadmap that differentiates the store experience and supports business growth objectives.

Greg Griffiths, Vice President of Product Alliances, EarthLink, remarked, "Our purpose in teaming up with IHL Group and AirTight for this important study is to provide retailers with actionable data to help them plan their next-generation engagement and technology roadmaps. We also see an increasing need for WAN optimization, driven by the bandwidth needs of the new centralized order management systems."

According to IHL Group, nearly 70% of specialty retailers are designing their next Point-of-Sale system based on a central order management system, which will put up to five times more load on the network for core store transactions than most retailers use today. To accommodate this load, many retailers will require an update of their WAN infrastructure.

"Research findings show that retail has the necessary infrastructure in place and is poised for growth around multichannel engagement using in-store WiFi," said Kevin McCauley, Director of Retail Market Development, AirTight Networks. "The companies that implement within the next year will have first mover advantage to perfect their engagement strategies. The forthcoming benchmarking tool will help retailers cut through the complexity around that."

About EarthLink
EarthLink (EarthLink Holdings Corp., NASDAQ: ELNK) provides managed network, security and cloud solutions for multi-location businesses. We help thousands of specialty retailers, restaurants, financial institutions, healthcare providers, professional service firms and local governments deliver a reliable and engaging customer experience in their stores and branch offices. We do so by building and managing MPLS WAN networks, by providing virtualized infrastructure, security, hosted voice, secure WiFi and compliance solutions, and by offering exceptional customer care. We operate a nationwide network spanning more than 28,000 fiber route miles, with 90 metro fiber rings and secure data centers that provide ubiquitous data and voice IP service coverage. Our EarthLink Carrier® division sells facilities-based wholesale telecommunications to other providers and our award-winning Internet services connect hundreds of thousands of residential customers across the U.S. For more, visit www.earthlink.com and follow @earthlink, LinkedIn and Google+.

About AirTight Networks
AirTight Networks is the global leader in comprehensive cloud WiFi solutions. The company's award-winning family of products and cloud services combines a true carrier-class multitenant cloud architecture with breakthroughs in WiFi location, user analytics, social engagement, manageability, ease of deployment, and cost effectiveness, as well as AirTight's longtime top-rated WIPS technology. AirTight's global customer base includes leading enterprises in the government, financial, technology/telecom, manufacturing, health care, retail, and hospitality sectors. For more information, please visit us at: www.airtightnetworks.com, or follow us @AirTight

About IHL Group
IHL Group is a global research and advisory firm headquartered in Franklin, Tennessee that provides market analysis and business consulting services for retailers and information technology companies that focus on the retail industry. For more information, visit www.ihlservices.com, call +1.615.591.2955 or email ihl@ihlservices.com.

SOURCE EarthLink Holdings Corp.



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