Poor Wi-Fi connectivity top shopper frustration

Poor connectivity to Wi-Fi and 4G in shopping centres is the biggest mobile frustration for shoppers, according to a new survey from Global Wireless Solutions.

The study found that 87 per cent of shoppers used a connected smartphone on their last shopping trip, and expect a reliable connection and consistent performance from their mobile devices across voice, internet and social media services.

However, when entering a shopping centre from outside, signal levels drop on average 20-30dB, presenting a challenge for operators. Topshop was rated as the top retailer for overall mobile experience, while many stores including John Lewis consistently delivered a poor experience at multiple locations in the UK.

Oxford Street department stores registered one of the starkest differences in mobile performance. On the pavement, the average performance across all networks was 100 per cent failure free for both voice calls and mobile data performance. In contrast, inside both John Lewis and Selfridges, the department stores experienced many dropped calls, mobile internet connection failures and slower internet connect speeds.

The survey also found that mobile devices are more closely involved with the shopping process rather than just entertainment or checking social media. Four in 10 shoppers now regularly compare prices online, while 23 per cent message their friends for advice on a purchase.

Paul Carter, CEO at Global Wireless Solutions, said: “Our recent nationwide test of shopping hotspots showed many shoppers are getting poor service at peak shopping times of the year. Mobile devices are now so integral to the shopping experience, whether calling loved ones to ask about a present for a sibling, sending pictures of items to friends on WhatsApp or just taking a break between shops in the communal areas.

“However, our tests show operators, retailers and shopping centre owners can clearly do more to deliver a more consistent service across the country.”

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