Wavespot is one of those ideas that make you wonder why no one thought of it sooner.  Think about it.  For many types of retail businesses—but especially hospitality establishments like coffee houses, cafes, and quickserves—offering free W-Fi to customers is more than a nice thing to offer; de rigueur mortis has set in. It’s an immovable fact that you put yourself at a disadvantage if you’re not offering a functional workspace along with food and beverage. An internet connection is a required expense for your business, and even if you’re not yet using a mobile POS you’ve still probably got a wireless router for your own devices to connect to. While it wouldn’t be an added expense to carve out a guest network for your customers, what’s wrong with getting a little something out of the deal? If people are going to stretch a single coffee purchase into a stay of a few hours, you deserve a little more than the $2 of dark roast revenue such an arrangement yields. This isn’t to say you ought to be charging money for the privilege of using your bandwidth. You’ll lose customers at fiber-optic speeds. Which brings me back to Wavespot, and the idea that made me wonder why no one thought of it sooner.

wavespot routerAt its most basic, Wavespot is a “social router,” sharing your WiFi and facilitating a trade of access for access between customers and business owners. Customers log on to your network by signing in via Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail. By doing so, they’re automatically added to the loyalty and marketing platform that’s at the heart of Wavespot. There are no magstripe cards, no app downloads, no intrusive forms to fill out—your customers need only a connected mobile device to start receiving newsletters, or coupons and offers. When Wavespot is integrated with Kounta, they don’t even need that.  Customers in the router’s database become customers in the POS, and offers that are sent to individuals are saved in Kounta—and can be redeemed with login credentials. Wavespot also pretty much handles this whole loyalty rewards thing on its own. With Smart Offers, the software is intelligent enough to keep track of how often someone is checking in, as well as who’s been staying away, and rewards are automatically sent, tailored to the situation.  So, OK, so far it sounds like people using your WiFi are getting rewarded for receiving something else for free. Here’s where I tell you what “social router” means.

Under the hood of the Wavespot router is powerful software that doesn’t just offer up coupons in exchange for a name. The customised splash screen that serves as the access point to a WiFi connection gives the ability to not only reinforce your identity/brand, but to offer deals directly to customers logging on. It’s adaptive to each individual, too, so that first-timers and repeat customers are greeted appropriately. mobileOffering rewards for a Facebook like or a Twitter check-in is a great way to put yourself into that person’s feed, visible to all their friends and followers. When users sign in with their social media accounts, Wavespot can get at whatever readily available demographic data is there, measure engagement, and put your business in their feeds without you having to get involved. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get involved, though. The “social listening” feature can monitor your mentions on FB and Twitter—and reviews on Yelp—and can alert you to any kind of feedback, good or bad. Staying on top of all this chatter frees you to respond where you feel you have to, and ensures you don’t miss the conversations people are having about your cafe. It’s pretty cool stuff, and you can understand why we’re excited to be partnered up with these folks.

Beyond the big business tools that Kounta and Wavespot give to small businesses, it’s yet another solution our partners can add to their bags of tricks (Note: they are not actually tricking you. This is a colloquialism). The Wavespot social router added to a Kounta installation is a complete package of hardware and software that combines marketing, administration, reporting, forecasting, inventory management, CRM, loyalty, Wi-Fi access, and a team of Oompa-Loompas to do the whole installation (this last service is only being offered by our partners in Loompa Land). So do our new friends a favor and welcome them to the Kounta Culture. Send a card, or a cake, or—better yet—give their service a whirl.