Retail Week Conference is to become a digital forum next year as headline sponsor, wifi provider The Cloud, supplies free internet for all at the event.

The initaitive will help facilitate digital debate around the conference, which has become the biggest event in the retail calendar, building on last year when the Retail Week Conference trended on Twitter as delegates took the discussions online.

The Cloud will also create a dedicated micro-site as a resource for retailers, including information on how they can use wifi to drive revenues and increase customer loyalty.

The Cloud is headline sponsorof the 2012 Retail Week Conference, which takes place at the Hilton Metropole on March 14 and 15. The wifi provider has over 6,700 live hotspots across the UK and works with retailers and malls including Westfield Stratford City, Ted Baker and Phones4U.

The Cloud managing director Vince Russell said: “The huge growth in smartphones and tablet devices means that people see fast, reliable internet access on the go as an essential part of their daily lives. In turn this means that providing wifi access is now a necessity for retailers.

“Through supporting the Retail Week event, we aim to educate the industry on how wifi can generate additional revenue for their business, whether it be by increasing customer loyalty, gaining valuable insight into their customer base or facilitating digital marketing strategies.”

Organiser of Retail Week conference, Emap Networks chief executive Colette Leong-son said: “The Cloud is one of the UK’s leading providers of free public wifi and prides itself on the strength of its network and the high levels of service that it delivers. We’re thrilled to be working with them as we grow this unique and nationally acclaimed event.”