EarthLink Holdings Corp. recently partnered with research consultants from the IHL Group and AirTight Networks to conduct a study into the retail industry's plans for in-store Wi-Fi and security. According to the preliminary findings, 82 percent of retailers have deployed in-store Wi-Fi, and 28 percent of those businesses have reported an increase in customer loyalty since adopting the technology.

In-store Wi-Fi seems to be an increasingly important factor to today's consumers, and in fact 34 percent of retailers that are already using in-store Wi-Fi plan to upgrade their systems capacity in 2015. 

"Our goal with this study is to establish actionable benchmark numbers that help retail IT executives compare the state of their store technology against others in the industry," IHL Group Founder and President Greg Buzek said in the study. "As many plan to invest in technologies like in-store Wi-Fi, payment systems, PCI compliance, and security to keep customers loyal while protecting their data, it's important to understand the benefits and challenges others have already experienced."

The IHL group also reported that nearly 70 percent of retailers are planning to upgrade their point-of-sale systems to one based on a central order management system, which will increase the store's network load by five times during core store transactions. This means that many retailers will be changing their Wi-Fi system to support higher functioning in their store software. 

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