Moroccan startup NEXTWI is aiming to help merchants gain and retain customers through Wi-Fi, allowing them to schedule call-to-actions and engage with guests while they are on their premises.
The goal of NEXTWI, launched last year, is to help public venues such as restaurants, shopping centers and hotels to boost their revenues through their Wi-Fi networks, offering prizes and promotions.
Founder Ismail Rachdaoui told Disrupt Africa public venues are struggling to provide an ideal Wi-Fi experience to end users, with passwords and classic captive portals hindering effective use.
“Through our service venues can provide not just free internet, but also benefit from Wi-Fi to smartly interact with and engage users, and keep them returning,” he said.
NEXTWI is bootstrapped, though it is looking to raise US$100,000 to assist its product development and marketing efforts. Even at this early stage, however, Rachdaoui said uptake has been pleasing, with the startup present in 20 venues such as restaurants and gyms, with more than 2,000 monthly active users.
“Acquiring customers is not always an easy deal, especially when the startup founders are not business aligned,” said Rachdaoui, who has an engineering background. “But the uniqueness was our main advantage.”
The uniqueness is clear. Instead of using a password or filling out a long form to get online for free at venues, guests simply sign up through one of their social media accounts. This allows NEXTWI to obtain access to their profiles, and push relevant content at them.
“This could be for driving them to benefit from an exclusive promotion, or just a simple video or banner ad,” Rachdaoui said. “This is basically to enhance guest in-house experience and engage with them. On the other side, the business owner gets data, insights and whole marketing sets through a cloud dashboard.”
So, if you’re in a restaurant, you can seamlessly connect to Wi-Fi and gain access to exclusive discounts based on your profile and loyalty level. This drives benefits for both the consumer and the merchant, who can encourage loyalty. Not a bad deal all round.
There are benefits, too, for NEXTWI, which charges merchants through monthly subscription plans, licensing and setup fees. The startup is already seeing growth in Morocco, with Rachdaoui focused on scaling the business within the North African country and the rest of the continent.
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