Improving retail experience and resilience with cellular connectivity solutions
Paul McHugh, Area Director UK, Cradlepoint
In the fiercely competitive retail market, staying connected is a strategic imperative. Network downtime not only causes disruption but also severe financial implications; Cradlepoint’s “State of Connectivity” report found nearly half (44%) of UK retailers face up to two hours of connectivity downtime weekly. With Gartner estimating that network downtime can cost businesses an average of £264,700 per hour, this represents a huge cost to retailers.
Retailers are trying to encourage customers through the door, yet repeated connectivity issues prevent them from offering superior in-store experiences, which has a knock-on effect on their overall competitiveness. The good news is that new connectivity solutions can alleviate some of these pressures.
Cellular networks, now a viable alternative to fibre
Many retailers have chosen cellular as a primary or failover connection because of its increased reliability, speed, security, and flexibility over fibre broadband. For example, Cradlepoint has been working with Infoprotect to support nearly 300 Nando’s stores across South Africa, including connectivity for its point-of-sale systems and digital ordering platforms.
Having a standard network across all of its restaurants enables Nando’s to support critical applications like online ordering platforms, experiment with new technology and streamline operations, improving efficiency and customer experience.
Establishing wired connections can take months, and moving a landline can be costly and timely. In contrast, cellular connections can be deployed in days and are simple to set up. Not just a backup solution, cellular is now an attractive alternative to fibre.
Improving customer service and security
Cellular technology also supports systems that help eliminate long queues and enable merchants to operate more efficiently.
At GAIL’s bakery, for example, appliances such as ovens and fridges require huge amounts of energy and store managers to monitor them for defects. However, Cradlepoint and KFP worked with the bakery to change this. Through cellular connectivity, GAIL’s stores can now use smart appliances, significantly reducing the amount of power they require to operate day-to-day and enabling staff to track more closely the items that sell quickly and when more stock needs to be ordered.
Cellular technology also enables smart video cameras that enhance security provision and customer satisfaction. One modern smart camera may be sufficient to replace four traditional cameras — reducing cost while improving coverage. The bakery can analyse image data to recognise when checkout lines grow too long and automatically alert staff who can open new registers and reduce the time customers have to wait in line — helping to improve overall satisfaction.
A new era of retail
Whether a store is looking to create thrilling new shopping experiences, implement new digital tools to boost operational efficiency or ensure its primary network connections are secure and reliable, the need for cost-effective, reliable, high-speed cellular connections will only rise.
When it comes to developing the next generation of retail apps, retailers adopting emerging technologies like 5G connectivity will be the ones that steer the course of the industry’s future.
For more information and to explore how Cradlepoint’s connectivity solutions can grow your business, visit: Wireless Wan Edge Solutions for Retailers | Cradlepoint