At the CES 2014, networking vendor Netgear announced its pact with Facebook to provide Facebook Wi-Fi to SMBs (small businesses).
SMBs will benefit as Facebook Wi-Fi, an application, enables merchants to provide free Internet access to their customers when they check in at the business.
Netgear is making the Facebook Wi-Fi login available on its next-generation wireless routers supporting dual-band 802.11ac wireless, the world’s fastest WiFi.
Small business owners can turn their Netgear 802.11ac router into a wireless hotspot where customers and other visitors are automatically requested to check into the business’ Facebook Page before surfing the web.
From here they have the option to like the Facebook Page, and engage with content the business has posted. This capability enables merchants to build closer relationships with customers by sharing offers and announcements directly from their Facebook page. Businesses benefit from aggregate Facebook Page Insights about their customer base.
It’s easy for a business to configure the Netgear 802.11ac router for Facebook Wi-Fi. Upon first connecting to the router’s wireless signal, customers, guests and visitors will land directly on the company’s Facebook Page, where they will be asked to check in and have the option to like the Page before they begin using the Internet.
Customer has the option to automatically check in for free WiFi on return visits. This means businesses can continue to reach their customers with future posts, announcements, coupons and other news. Businesses can also share special promotions on their Facebook Page so the offers are the first things customers see when they check in.
Jean Paul Coupal, co-founder at Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto, said: “Having the Facebook Wi-Fi login capability is really the icing on the cake. Since we began using Facebook Wi-Fi, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of check-ins to our Facebook Page, and are seeing much more online engagement with our customers.”
If customers wish to skip Facebook Wi-Fi check-in, the business owner still has the option to gate the Internet connection with a business-provided code, or even to offer free WiFi without a passcode.