Customer-centric retail through a strong and secure network

Seamless omnichannel experiences from the network up

From offering customers blended digital and in-person shopping experiences to giving store associates the tools they need to exceed customer expectations, the enterprise WAN plays a vital role in today’s evolving retail environment. Retail business and IT leaders face increasing demand for anywhere, anytime shopping experiences, and must shift their network thinking to delight their buyers, protect sensitive customer information and future-proof their stores.

Windstream Enterprise commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate driving factors and results for organizations transitioning from legacy networks to next-generation SD-WAN. The study confirms that retail IT leaders are prioritizing security, reliability and remote access to enable customer-centric experiences in an increasingly interconnected—yet dispersed—shopping environment. And for that, they choose high-performing solutions backed by trusted technology partners.

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Mounting pressure on the WAN

From the explosion in online shopping and touchless consumerism to electronic payment methods and compliance regulations, retail has never been more connected. Or more complex.

Today’s retail IT leaders see their network as a critical component of their organization’s success. Their associates rely on the WAN to offer customers seamless omnichannel shopping experiences over a reliable, highly secure network that supports mobile POS devices, plus integrated e-commerce platforms that link shopper information, shopping history and purchasing behavior across channels—all while keeping sensitive information secure.

 


Legacy networks are holding back customer experiences

Digital transformation requires a strong and healthy network, and yesterday’s technology can’t support the growing expectations of customers and associates, or protect against harmful data breaches. WAN architectures like MPLS struggle to keep pace with traffic and access demands, creating bottlenecks and network outages

Top 3 issues with current WANs, according to retail IT leaders1


Difficulty ensuring broad network availability across locations


Too much time to deploy new WAN services, connectivity or hardware to new sites


Too much time and money on required maintenance

 


Securing the WAN remains a challenge

As more shopping occurs online and cashless payments increase, leaders in retail are challenged with effectively securing and controlling touchpoints outside the edge of the physical network perimeter.

In addition, retail organizations are relying more on real-time communications, video, VoIP, chat and third-party apps for associate collaboration and training.


SD-WAN drivers and roadblocks to change

Many retail organizations are moving away from legacy networks to high-performing solutions like SD-WAN. According to IT and business leaders in the industry, the leading motivator for shifting to SD-WAN is the need to improve security for remote locations.1

Interestingly, the industry’s primary barrier to SD-WAN implementation is deployment-related: the challenges associated with building a network service chain that includes connectivity, load balancing, security services and WAN optimization services complicate the transition to SD-WAN. Thankfully, a trusted managed technology partner can make the transition from legacy to leading-edge smooth and sustainable.

#1 driver
Improving security for remote locations1

#1 barrier to implementation
Building a network service chain1


What retail IT leaders look for in an SD-WAN partner

Retailers seek network solutions that are secure, compliant and reliable—delivered by providers with an array of solutions and pricing options to fit their needs.1

1. An integrated WAN and network security offering
2. The ability to purchase multiple/bundled services from the same provider
3. A reliable brand
4. A large array of pricing options
5.  Service certifications, such as PCI and SOC2

Accelerate your WAN transformation with Windstream Enterprise

Windstream Enterprise offers network and security solutions that meet the needs of today’s retail organizations.


Leading network and security solutions

Optimize your network for cloud-based applications and leverage unified, secure connectivity anywhere.

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Award-winning digital experience

Customize and configure your services with centralized management and real-time visibility through our single pane of glass, WE Connect portal.

Learn about WE Connect >

 

Unrivaled experience and service guarantees*

Benefit from an industry-leading focus on innovation and commitment to your success along with no-risk solution guarantees.

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Retail customer spotlight

As an independent, private marketer of fueling stations and convenience stores, Rotten Robbie prides themselves on delivering a high-quality customer experience. But in an age of cashless payments and free customer WiFi—along with the ongoing need for Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance—this retailer’s patchwork of obsolete, localized network solutions wasn’t up to the job.

For reliable, optimized connectivity and PCI compliance, Windstream Enterprise implemented SD-WAN with Managed Network Security (MNS), adding cellular broadband for automated failover configurations critical to applications like credit card processing. The addition of OfficeSuite HD Meeting® enabled jitter-free video conferencing between store employees and head office.

Rotten Robbie has since virtually eliminated outages. Customers can access the Internet via free WiFi and connect to Rotten Robbie’s loyalty program to access special offers. HD Meeting makes it possible to host “how to” videos for commercial customers and training for employees.

Customer: 36 locations across California, 4th generation family business
Challenges: Inconsistent security readiness, complex PCI compliance process, frequent network outages, lacked employee and customer WiFi
Solutions: SD-WAN Concierge™, Managed Network Security, Secure WiFi & Analytics, OfficeSuite HD Meeting®
Results: Increased security, improved uptime, reliable WiFi and connectivity, enhanced customer experience

‘‘Windstream Enterprise provides Rotten Robbie with a highly integrated security solution that protects our data and our customers and helps us achieve PCI compliance.”

- David Watson, IT Manager, Rotten Robbie


Cloud-enabled connectivity, communications and security. Guaranteed.

Windstream Enterprise drives business transformation through the convergence of our proprietary software solutions and cloud-optimized network to unlock our retail clients’ revenue and profitability potential. Our managed services elevate the customer experience by enabling omnichannel strategies and enhancing security while protecting a retailer’s critical data and brand reputation. Analysts certify Windstream Enterprise as a market leader for our product innovation, and clients rely on our unrivaled service guarantees and best-in-class management portal. Retailers trust Windstream Enterprise as their single source for a high-performance network and award-winning suite of connectivity, collaboration and security solutions— delivered by a team of technology experts whose success is directly tied to our clients’ complete satisfaction.

To learn more about Windstream Enterprise network and security solutions, visit windstreamenterprise.com

1. “Shift Your Network Thinking to SD-WAN and Security.” A Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper. Commissioned by Windstream Enterprise, March 2022.

* Required services include OfficeSuite UC® and SD-WAN Concierge™ for all Windstream Enterprise guarantees.

About the Author

Windstream Enterprise

Windstream Enterprise believes people should expect more from their service provider. Our mission: as network, security and application performance become continuously more critical, WE will be the partner that responds to unique customer needs—a pathfinder to help lead them through technology transformation. A trusted advisor to help them connect, transform and elevate their businesses.

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