Spectra's Product head on the future of networking for retail business
Nowadays, this is how a typical retail purchase journey made by millennials goes: before making a purchase, they extensively research the products/services and their availability in their nearby retail stores and compare them with similar alternatives. However, they still want to be confident enough before investing in a product and greatly believe in the try-before-you-buy approach. So, after exploring all they can through online platforms, they visit the stores to try out the range of products they have selected.
With this buying behavior taken into consideration, modern retail businesses are equally focusing on eCommerce, mCommerce as well as brick-and-mortar stores. Moreover, all of these business models are coming closer to each other every day, not only from the buyer’s perspective but also from the retailer’s point of view. However, this new, revamped retail scenario is not a standalone model. In the handshake of the two aspects of modern retail - brick-and-mortar and mCommerce / eCommerce - a strong retail network solution is highly required to serve as the backbone of the business.
What does the future of retail networking entail?
Technology has joined hands with retail, and there is a need to revamp your network infrastructure and operations. The future brings several challenges that can only be tackled if you match the rapid pace of the growing retail industry. From the major tech trends to the complex operations in the supply chain, inventory, and logistics management - your network needs to support it all. Only then can you ensure an enriched customer experience and cater to the needs of your tech-savvy customers. In this post, Spectra’s Product head is discussing what the future of retail networking looks like, the challenges it faces, and the right solutions you can deploy to tackle them in time. Let’s dive in!
To quote the famous words of HG Wells “Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative”. Only early adopters of technology will survive in today’s competitive world.
Major tech disruptions need a future-ready retail network
While technology is at the helm of every industry, the retail sector is not taking a backseat. Tech-driven retailers are embracing disruptive technologies that can boost their ROI, increase customer satisfaction, and help them stay ahead of the competition. Modern retail stores are bound to adopt these emerging retail technologies to stay in the race:
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR and VR): With virtual trial rooms on the rise, customers will experience a whole new “try before buy” approach.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and automation: These technologies are going to help retailers adopt pace with the trend of cashier-less stores. Major brands Amazon & Decathlon have already begun this journey with their “Just-walk-out” stores that use automated RFID tag scans, online digital payments, inventory updates, etc. AI is also going to help retailers by providing personalized customer experiences and automated inventory management.
Voice assistants in-store: As much as customers want to take their time and don’t often want any intrusion by buying assistants, they could surely use guidance in making the right buying decisions and the ultimate purchase. In-store voice assistants are going to be a breakthrough technology solution for enhancing buying experiences and customer satisfaction.
However, without a high-performing network underpinning your retail business, adopting these technologies and delivering seamless customer experiences is impossible. This requires urgent up-gradation of network infrastructure from the legacy network to future-ready, cloud-first network solutions for retail stores. The goal is to ensure that your retail network stays compatible with the next-gen retail technology solutions, helping retailers to gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.
High-performing in-store Wi-Fi experience to boost CX
More than 90% of consumers use smartphones while shopping in stores. Free Wi-Fi has stepped up from just being a nice-to-have to a must-have in retail stores. To match these growing requirements of your retail customers, you need to ensure that you provide them with high-speed Wi-Fi with simplified authentication. With this, you can ensure that your customers have a comfortable in-store experience in case they want to browse your product catalog online, read reviews about products, go through your social handle or website, or simply converse with their family and friends while shopping.
The security aspect of free Wi-Fi
However, having free Wi-Fi means your retail network is shared by your customers, becoming a public network, and exposed to network security threats. Retailers need to implement solutions with built-in network security and support to curb a threat before it enters their network perimeter. Managed Wi-Fi solutions offer end-to-end encryption, and if you choose the right service providers, they will also safeguard your network constantly from any threats.
Constant network availability for supply chain and inventory management
Customers’ buying patterns are purely hybrid nowadays - they enjoy the convenience of shopping online while they also like to try before they buy, for which they shop from stores. As soon as an order is placed, you need to reflect that in your inventory and align individual logistic chains for the customers shopping from both channels. To implement this, there’s a need for automated supply chain and inventory management processes. This can be achieved by deploying a high-performance networking solution that promises high-speed and enterprise-grade SLAs to match the rapidly growing requirements of your retail network.
Ensuring network reliability to enhance brand loyalty and CX
With your inventory and logistics chain updating with every millisecond for every customer - either online or offline, you need to ensure that your business network is always available. If your internet goes down for even a fraction of a second, it can cost you big bucks and cause permanent damage to your brand reputation and loyalty. For high network availability, reliability, and security, you need to monitor your network for security threats and unexpected network outages - which helps you increase brand loyalty and enhance CX. This is where managed network solutions for retail come in!
Managed network solutions to ensure high-growth retailing
Managed network services take retail networking a step further with their end-to-end network monitoring and management services. We, at Spectra, offer managed network solutions and video analytics for your retail business to achieve:
Streamlined supply chain and inventory management
High network uptime with increased network security
Insights into buying behavior and customer demographics
Spectra’s network solution stack for retailers includes:
High-performance NaaS solutions
Network as a Service offers complete network solution for your retail stores such as Managed Internet & Managed Wi-Fi for managing branches and Secured SD-WAN for connecting branches, and provide:
resilient, reliable networking
inherent security features
high-speed in-store internet
AI-powered Video Analytics solution
AIVis, our video analytics solution empowers you with several business benefits that streamline retail operations and boost your ROI; here’s a snapshot of the same:
Dashboard-driven customer demographics and insights
Automated inventory and dock management
Temperature and mask detection for COVID compliance
To shape your retail business's future and walk along the changing retail landscape and evolving industry trends, embrace our next-gen networking solutions. Browse our NaaS solutions on spectra.co, or even better - talk to our network specialists to discuss your networking requirements, and understand what solution would be the best fit for your business.