Telstra launches Air Merchant allowing small businesses to provide guest Wi-Fi for customers


Telstra launched Telstra Air Merchant, a first of its kind solution that enables small businesses to easily set up a guest Wi-Fi service, promote tailored offers and learn more about their customers’ preferences.

Research conducted by Telstra showed access to free Wi-Fi is a key factor for customers when choosing between two similar businesses. 66 percent of respondents said they wanted free Wi-Fi from businesses such as cafes and pharmacies, with the number jumping to over 80 percent for 18-24 year olds. Over 57 percent of 18-44 year olds said guest Wi-Fi would factor in their decision making when choosing between two similar businesses.

Telstra’s Executive Director Small Business, Brendan Donohoe said Wi-Fi was increasingly a service that customers expected when visiting businesses.

“Telstra Air Merchant helps small businesses meet this customer expectation, as well as providing new ways for them to attract more customers, understand their preferences and engaging with them in a more personalised way.”

“It’s a valuable service for any business that has customers visiting their premises, particularly service businesses like restaurants, cafes, hair dressers, doctors or dentists,” Mr Donohoe said.

Telstra Air Merchant also allows for small business owners to gather insights from consenting customers – either through a social media login, or customisable login surveys. An online control panel allows for the creation of customised offers, as well as personalising the Wi-Fi connection experience.

This feature is in line with findings in the recently-launched 2018 Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report. It found 49 percent of Australian customers wanted to receive personalised offers from the small businesses they use. The report also revealed less than a quarter (22%) of small businesses are responding to this growing trend and providing these offers.

“Using data from Telstra Air Merchant, business owners can learn how their customers like to be communicated with. It can also help with everything from creating targeted offers based on preferences, to ensuring waiting rooms have customers’ preferred magazines or music choices. These are just some of the small changes businesses can make that have a big impact on the overall experience for their customers,” Mr Donohoe said.

“The solution allows small business owners to create their own branded welcome page for their customers. It’s a really simple way to create a professional look and feel that was once only available to much bigger business with more resources.

“In designing the solution we listened to our customers who told us they want simple plug and play technology. So we’ve made Telstra Air Merchant easy to self-install – you open the box, plug it in to the power and your modem and connect. It’s that easy,” he said.

New and existing Telstra Business customers with a compatible gateway can add a Telstra Air Merchant subscription to their eligible Business Bundle or standalone Telstra Business Broadband Plan for $20 per month (over 24 months, min cost $480 in addition to the underlying plan costs) and use their broadband data allowance to provide guest Wi-Fi. From today, Telstra will also be refreshing its Business Bundle options, offering new price points and inclusions, including higher base speeds on NBN. For more information on Telstra’s new Business Bundles.

Telstra Air Merchant will enable small business owners to offer a Wi-Fi connection for Telstra Fixed and Mobile customers, with Telstra Air Members being able to log in automatically via the Telstra Air App. Small business owners using Telstra Air Merchant will also be able to take advantage of over one million Telstra Air hotspots when they are out and about as well as over 20 million Fon Spots overseas.