Barnes & Noble said on Tuesday that it had signed a strategic agreement with AT&T to provide free Wi-Fi to all customers in its stores.As this New York Times article goes on to say, free WiFi in retail locations is the wave of the future, a sure way to attract customers and have them hang around to spend money for hours at a time. I suspect that this will become more and more common and that retailers not providing the service are going to suffer a loss of business to those that do.
Steve Riggio, chief executive of Barnes & Noble, said the company promoted its stores as “community centers” with cafes, comfortable seating and on-site events like book signings.
“It’s a gathering place and Wi-Fi access is increasingly becoming something that customers expect in public places,” said Mr. Riggio, adding that many airports now offered a similar service. “We’ve always considered our stores as quasi-public settings and public gathering places and thought this was the perfect opportunity to provide our customers with free access.”
I love it.