Boingo Wireless, Inc. (NASDAQ: WIFI), the Wi-Fi industry’s leading provider of software and services worldwide, announced an agreement with Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC), a leading developer of distinctive urban real estate in the New York metropolitan area, to provide Wi-Fi services at FCRC’s newest open-air lifestyle center, Westchester’s Ridge Hill. Boingo’s Wi-Fi services will become available in fall 2012.
Boingo will install, manage and operate free-to-consumer Wi-Fi in the common areas of Westchester’s Ridge Hill. Boingo’s services will also include customer support and sponsorship sales. Shoppers will be able to access Boingo Wi-Fi on their smartphones, tablets and other Wi-Fi enabled devices, allowing them to stay connected, share their shopping experience, make reservations at a center restaurant or book tickets at one of Ridge Hill’s entertainment venues.
Westchester’s Ridge Hill, FCRC’s 1.3 million square foot regional, mixed-use center, is set to attract more than 6 million visitors this year, with anchor tenants including Lord & Taylor, Whole Foods, Dick’s Sporting Goods, REI and Showcase Cinema De Lux. FCRC currently owns and operates 32 properties in the New York metropolitan area, including more than 20 retail locations, as well as office and residential real estate.
“We wanted to provide our shoppers with fast and reliable Wi-Fi services, and Boingo is a perfect fit, given its track record and experience in large-scale consumer venues,” said Katherine Welch, senior vice president of retail development for Forest City Ratner Companies. “In addition to providing state-of-the-art wireless services, the company is constantly innovating to provide retailers with new ways to increase engagement and reach shoppers with special offers. Boingo’s Wi-Fi offerings give us new tools to introduce into our portfolio.”
“Boingo Wi-Fi will allow on-the-go customers to take full advantage of the relaxing environment and unique amenities at Ridge Hill, without missing a beat online,” said Joe DeStasio, business development manager for Boingo Wireless. “Mobile devices are increasingly part of today’s shopping experience, and our Wi-Fi services enable people to get real-time recommendations from friends and share special purchases, while avoiding expensive data charges.”
The Wi-Fi services will also provide additional opportunities for retailers to engage with customers via their mobile devices, which have an increasing importance at retail. A June 2012 study from Deloitte Consulting LLP, “The Dawn of Mobile Influence,” found that smartphones influence 5.1% of annual retail store sales, with mobile influence set to quadruple in the next four years. The study also found that smartphone users are 14% more likely to make a purchase in-store than non-smartphone users.