Friday, May 02, 2014

Key for outlets: free wifi

Wi-Fi Signal logo
Wi-Fi Signal logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Over the past few weeks we had our extended family from Shanghai over in Europe. That means a lot of shopping, especially in the affordable outlets. We visited those in Maasmechelen (Belgium), Aubonne and Lugano (Switzerland) and Serravalle near Milan (Italy).
Of course, they still wanted to make some pictures of important buildings and scenery for show off at home, but the availability of outlets was in the end more important, if they had to choose.
Most of the window shopping they had already done in China: the price difference (and the ability to get tax free services) for the same items is still a major draw for Chinese tourists to Europe.
Key tool proved to be, apart from the selection of brands the outlets were able to get, was a decent free Wifi connection. My family did not only try to satisfy their own needs, but also took a long list of items for their friends back in China or elsewhere in the world.
Talking real time to them, and sending pictures, was crucial to make purchasing decisions. Friends had to confirm before they dared to purchase items, and certainly giving advice and comparing real time prices in China over mostly WeChat.
Main disappointment was the Serravalle Outlet near Milan. The selection of stores was the best of all outlets we visited. Officially the outlet offered a free wifi, but it never worked, and we could not get online. A bad wifi meant in this case a direct loss in turnover for the outlet stores. They made fun of the restaurants, who translated their menus into Russian, but not into Chinese, but that is surmountable. No working wifi is a killer.
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