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Debenhams rolls out free in-store wifi with O2 as it rethinks shopping

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Debenhams is to launch free O2 wifi throughout all its 167 shops and will now offer the largest wifi coverage of any department store in the UK.

 This will allow customers to access a huge variety of Debenhams information and special deals as they walk around the store, when using the fitting rooms or whilst enjoying a coffee in one of the retailer’s restaurants.

Wifi is being introduced after a very successful trial run with O2 in three of Debenhams’ stores in the UK and due to the large uptake of the Debenhams app, which has seen one million downloads and 250,000 barcode scans in store via the app. 20% of the retailer’s online traffic now comes from mobile devices.

Customers only need register to O2 wifi once and they will then be automatically connected whenever they are in range. O2 wifi is for everyone regardless of their mobile or broadband provider.

The move, which effectively heralds the end of online versus in-store shopping by bringing the two together, is set to have a dramatic effect on how people buy products in stores and will leave the rest of the high street wanting to follow suit.

From now on, customers in every Debenhams store will be able to use their smartphones to connect to O2 wifi to check for sizes and availability. If it isn’t on the rail, they can simply scan the barcode and order it instantly for home delivery. They can also ask friends what they think about a product, or see what other customers thought before buying it, receive special discount vouchers instantly, saving them money, view store layouts to find items quickly and easily and arrange for bulky goods bought in store to be delivered later direct to home.

Debenhams Director, Simon Forster, says: “We’re seeing the shape of shopping in the future emerging right before our eyes. With over one million customers already with our app on their phones, free wifi in stores has the potential to transform how people shop.” 

Scanning a product bar code will reveal a precise description of the product, details of its manufacturer, the colours, sizes and in store availability. Out of stock garments can be ordered immediately for delivery to your home. Debenhams is already using its ‘Extra’ kiosks to offer up to five times the range available in store at any time, and this move puts all that choice into your hands – via your handset or tablet.

A picture of the garment can be sent to a wide range of friends so that they can say if it suits you or not. Alternative styles and colours can be suggested.

Gavin Franks, MD of O2 wifi says of the partnership, adds: “O2 wifi has announced partnerships with leading brands in 2012. We are delighted to add Debenhams to our growing portfolio. Debenhams have realised the power of using in-store connectivity as a basis to bring innovative services to customers. We’re delighted that we are consistently being chosen as a partner by premium brands such as Debenhams. This marks a continuation of our fresh thinking that has seen the rapid growth of O2 wifi.”

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