Reimagine Your Network

by Greg Griffiths
December 11, 2018

Savvy retailers are turning “brick-and-mortar” stores into a competitive advantage, blending digital technology with traditional merchandising. From enabling personalized item recommendations using tracked buying preferences to streamlining purchases with mobile check-out, digital technology increasingly delivers a superior customer experience, driven by real-time, secure data. According to a recent Incisiv study we co‑sponsored with BRP Consulting, “digital already directly drives more than a third of all retail sales, and it further influences a much higher percentage.”

One challenge: Success with in-store digital technologies demands robust, resilient network connectivity. Over the next twelve months, retailers are posed for 2x growth in digital retail technology focused on mobile enablement such as mobile POS, in-store mode for mobile apps and customer Wi-Fi among others. Legacy retail networks don’t have the bandwidth and reliability needed to enable the new retail experience – an issue compounded by this new wave of tech investment. To take full advantage of the technology available, retailers will need to reimagine their network to gain new levels of performance, capacity, and reliability.

Reimagine your retail network

New imperatives for retail networking

Leveraging cloud applications for stores and distribution centers is an essential starting point for delivering valuable data that is both real-time and uniform across all stores and applications. Beyond this basic requirement, retail networks need to be simple, fast, agile, reliable, and secure.

  • Simple. Managing disparate networks and traditional phone lines is both complex and costly – and unnecessary given today’s technology. A simple, unified environment across the enterprise speeds the ability to update capabilities as new and enhanced technologies come to market. Retailers that enlist a network partner to proactively help manage their network, further benefit by allowing their resources to be focused on key value drivers and growth-oriented initiatives.
  • Fast. Giving customers and employees new apps and systems that run at a sluggish pace is a surefire recipe for frustration. Seamless bandwidth and instant connectivity are must-haves.
  • Agile. Centralized network management and real-time application prioritization ensures solid performance, reduces store-level IT requirements, and speeds the turn-up of new sites and capabilities. Empowering retailers with the visibility to see the performance of their applications in real time enables the flexibility to choose the best connection and bandwidth allocation for each application, ensuring optimal performance.
  • Reliable. Rapidly adding digital technologies can quickly strain bandwidth, and outages of any kind, can grind business to a screeching halt. Retail networks must deliver steady connectivity to ensure business runs smoothly and accommodates both near-term and future technology additions.
  • Secure. When the store converges with the digital world, the network becomes a lifeline and the data it carries, treasure to be guarded. Retailers must protect and prevent damage to their most valuable assets, and isolate and respond to network threats the instant they appear.

Added bonus: Implementing an advanced network can significantly reduce operational costs, creating a strong business case for an upgrade. It does not take a strong imagination to see how a solid network foundation will accelerate business and position retailers for any applications the future may hold in store.

Learn more at NRF

To further explore the retail network of the future, be sure to visit booth 4609 at NRF 2019. Experts from Windstream Enterprise and retail consulting firm BRP Consulting will be on hand to answer questions regarding your specific needs and best options for satisfying them – the real starting point toward reimagining your network for the new competitive landscape of retail.