John Lewis Brings Free WiFi to Kingston

John Lewis is to offer free WiFi access in its Kingston store by Christmas. <--break->

Jumping on the recent trend of large retailers offering free WiFi connections to their customers, the connection will be based out of the John Lewis’ cafés but available throughout the store.

Sylvia Davis, a frequent John Lewis, Kingston customer, said she believes in-store WiFi to be “a great idea” and that she planned on using it regularly once it becomes available.

A customer service representative in the Kingston store said that they “don’t have a timeframe” for the WiFi launch yet, but that it would be sometime in the next few weeks.

John Lewis, Kingston, has two spacious cafés, Espresso Bar and The Place to Eat. While neither offers the usual quiet café atmosphere, both have a wide variety of food and drink and The Place to Eat boasts a beautiful riverside view.

IT Director Paul Coby said: “We know our customers are mobile and want to be connected anywhere, anytime and any place. We are committed to providing that connectivity.”

John Lewis plans on offering WiFi accross all of its UK stores by the end of the year.

Aiding in that connectivity will be a John Lewis iPad app, currently in development, that will give customers easy access to their online assortment, product reviews and video.

Additionally, employees known as ‘Digital Champions’ will be placed in each store to help customers shop online as part of the government’s Race Online initiative.

“We recognise that mobile phones have become a crucial part of people’s shopping habits,” said John Lewis Head of Multi-Channel, Simon Russell.

“The roll-out of WiFi in our shops is a big step forward in helping customers to have all of the information they need at their fingertips to make an informed purchase.”

Once launched, the WiFi will be available to all customers on any wireless-capable device after a one-time email registration.

The deal was made through BT Openzone, which has over three million other WiFi hotspots across the UK, but BT Openzone is not normally free.

John Lewis is not alone in its offering of free public WiFi, as various companies and retailers have begun to offer it in boroughs throughout London.

The Cloud, a BSkyB company, has contracts for free WiFi with 12 businesses in Kingston upon Thames, including: Nero Caffé, Pizza Express, McDonald’s, the Rose Theatre and the King’s Tun.

(The Cloud’s free WiFi hotspots in Kingston can be found here.)

It also announced in recent weeks that a five-year contract extension had been reached with the City of London, ensuring free outdoor WiFi access for the public anywhere within the Square Mile until 2016.

Managing director of The Cloud, Vince Russell, said: “This upgrade will ensure that the City of London has the best connectivity for people wanting to use the Internet on the go.”

Users in the Square Mile will be allowed 15 minutes of free connectivity a day followed by an offer of 24 hours for  £2.00.

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