Starbucks Brews Up Wireless Access – For Their Own Use

from the unintended-beneficial-consequences dept

With all the talk about Starbucks building up all these WiFi hotspots with T-Mobile, there have been plenty of questions on the business model. Early evidence suggested that not enough people were making use of the service to make it worthwhile (yet) and some (including myself) thought Starbucks would be better off offering the system to customers to use for free – just to bring in more business. I’ll even admit that the only times I’ve gone to a Starbucks in the last year or so have been to use their WiFi – and each time I’ve ended up purchasing food or drinks there as well. In all those conversations about how Starbucks (and other establishments) can benefit from using WiFi, the one thing that never really occurred to me was that the biggest benefit to Starbucks may be for the company and its employees. One of the reasons that Starbucks hasn’t been complaining so much about the low usage from customers coming in off the streets – is that the WiFi networks have been very useful for their own employees in running the business. From the sound of things, even if they just used the WiFi internally, it would have been a sound investment. District managers can now be connected as they visit all of the Starbucks in their region. It lets them spend more time at the actual Starbucks, meeting with employees and customers, instead of locked in some office somewhere. Now, Starbucks is looking to expand how they use the WiFi internally – including using it for cash registers, sending sales data back to the main office, and even being able to connect their security cameras to the internet. So, suddenly, for retail establishments considering offering WiFi to customers – there are even more reasons to set it up.

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