While the retail sector has suffered as a result of COVID-19, some retail outlets, such as pharmacies and supermarkets, must continue to provide goods to Australian communities.
Putting pressure on these essential stores are recent consumer trends such as panic buying.
Supermarkets are seeing more visitors than normal in short spaces of time, and those shoppers are buying more than usual in each transaction.
During this challenging time, retail IT teams and the networks they manage have never been more important — or more burdened.
So, what retail IT challenges typically arise during these difficult times, and what can retailers do to address them?
Challenge #1: Unplanned network downtime
In the current climate, downtime in a retail setting could mean supply chain disruptions, goods shortages, or an inability to serve customers.
More than ever, retailers that remain open are trying to make the buying experience easier and faster, making even momentary network disruptions unacceptable.
Point-of-sale (POS) connectivity failures at a time like this can cause anger and frustration for shoppers, slow processing and create overcrowding in supermarkets or pharmacies and result in retailers losing the ability to serve their customers at a time of need. No wired connection can deliver 100 percent uptime.
Retailers can reach 99.99 percent reliability with network solutions that leverage LTE for either primary or failover connectivity.
This option is affordable and isn’t typically subject to the same outages as wired lines. An LTE-enabled failover solution can easily overlay existing network infrastructure.
Challenge #2: Deployment delays
Setting up connectivity for long-term or pop-up locations such as the recently opened additional supermarket distribution centres in Australia, doesn’t need to take months or even weeks.
Retailers no longer have to align openings of stores or temporary distribution centres with availability of wired lines.
Cradlepoint branch routers provide day-1, industry-leading gigabit-class LTE connectivity as well as ethernet and wi-fi.
What does this mean for retailers providing essential goods to consumers? Additional temporary stores or distribution sites can be up and running in hours instead of months or even weeks.
Challenge #3: Managing multiple locations without on-site IT staff
Some retailers that are still open, such as pharmacies, don’t have on-site IT staff to look after their technology needs. This becomes especially challenging when a retail brand has multiple stores or sites to manage.
Retailers can rapidly deploy and centrally manage networks at geographically distributed stores with Cradlepoint NetCloud manager, the network management component within the NetCloud service.
This subscription-based service improves productivity, reduces costs, and enhances the intelligence of retailers’ networks and operations.
As essential retailers adjust to the new normal and try to meet increased consumer needs, Cradlepoint is here to support them and other industries during this challenging time.