Retail Critical Infrastructure Solutions
Retail Technology Challenges
Retailers face many challenges in today’s rapidly changing landscape. Moore’s Law states that technology tends to double every two years while simultaneously becoming more accessible and affordable.
This is certainly true in retail as security and essential services are critical concerns. The Internet of Things (IoT) has brought technology to the Edge of the storefront allowing sales staff to become more efficient and provide better service for their customers. This rapidly changing landscape provides significant challenges.
Retail facilities require continuous, clean, and reliable power to support critical IT infrastructure and ensure 24/7 continuity. Loss of power can result in data loss and worse yet, loss of infrastructure availability such as internet and telecommunications which is especially important in today’s marketplace.
The keys to ensuring customer safety, protecting your reputation, and boosting financial stability start with building your organization’s reliability through optimized critical infrastructure along with flexible services and support for customers and staff.
Factors such as aging physical infrastructure, rising energy costs, natural disasters, ever-changing regulatory requirements, rapid changes in sales strategies, and a shortage of skilled workers also contribute to technology risks for retailers.
How Technology Is Transforming the Retail Landscape
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the idea that the internet will expand to many items in the world besides phones and computers. These items will be accessible via the internet wherein you can pull data and/or affect them.
Allowing staff access to tablets or smart devices is an example of this. These devices can both enhance the customer experience and provide the ability for sales staff to more effectively provide customer service. From the restaurant table to the car dealership lot, the Internet of Things is transforming retail experiences.
Here are four ways the IoT can change your work today:
- Remote Monitoring
- Can provide status updates and up-time reports for critical infrastructure through wireless communications allowing franchise offices to quickly resolve potential problems.
- Precision Recording and Reporting
- One of the major benefits of using machines is their objectiveness. As long as the machine is functioning properly, it is less prone to data-entry mistakes.
- The Advent of “Smart Stores”
- IoT is allowing stores to become “Smart” through connecting various devices, retail applications, interactive experiences, digital signage, and many more technologies that collect, analyze, and transmit data. This data can then be used to improve the customer experience, provide personalized communications, and enhanced security.
- Cost and Time Savings
- Like any major upgrade, the initial investment of both money and time into the IoT will be high. You might need to completely revamp your technology base and retrain your staff. The returns, however, are unbelievable. No more faulty data recording, no more inaccurate reports, no more wasted time and money on inaccurate analysis or data records. In the long run, the IoT is the next big step toward efficiency, automation, and accuracy.
Interoperability & Secure Data Transfers
Interoperability allows multiple retail stores to work together and exchange data to provide the best experience for their customers. To do this, each organization must communicate the others and send very sensitive documents through the internet. Here are a few perks of interoperability:
- Fast Access to Data
- Collaborating with other organizations allows you to get the key data you need at faster speeds than ever before.
- Expanded Knowledge
- Sharing information allows everyone to develop a complete knowledge base, expanding the possibilities for every organization.
- Better Decisions
- With more information, managers and marketers will be better informed to make better decisions.
- Improved Customer Experience
- The ultimate goal of interoperability is to improve the experience for each customer. Sharing data empowers your staff to make the best decisions and build the best services possible.
Despite these benefits, interoperability and regular data transfer has some drawbacks.
- Risk of Hacks
- As more and more documents are sent over the web, secure connections must be ensured to protect from hackers. If your tech isn’t up to security standards, interoperability isn’t going to be safe for your customers or staff until you upgrade.
- Regulatory Compliance
- Any breach can result in incredibly large fines, loss of trust, and even a loss of revenue. Your tech needs to be able to protect your customers and your reputation before interoperability can begin.
- Data Security
- The biggest source of data breaches at any company isn’t hackers or faulty tech, it’s the staff in the workplace. Your staff will need to be trained on proper usage of the new technology and procedures to ensure data isn’t compromised due to operator error.
Retail is an incredibly stressful industry with significant impacts to customers. Not only do you need to provide quality services, you have to maintain your facilities and ensure your staff have the necessary technology in place to do their work.
The last thing you should need to worry about are malicious attacks on your systems or the effects of local natural disasters, but these events are all too common and growing ever more frequent. Improving the physical and virtual security of your environment is essential to preserving your operations and customer privacy.
The result of a noncompliance suit or inspection can be incredibly detrimental to your operations. Fines often stretch into the millions after a data breach and this is considered a generally good outcome. You need a partner who understands the stringent requirements you face and can build elegant code-minimum solutions.
Retail Critical Infrastructure Challenges
Network Security & Infrastructure Protection
- Technology is an incredibly important part of retail. Without a strong IT backbone, you won’t be able to rely on the critical technology you need to help your customers.
- Your facilities need reliable power all day, every day.
- As interoperability and the Internet of Things expand, so, too, will your needs for greater security and power.
Enable the Retail Technology Edge
- As customers become more technologically sophisticated, new innovation must take place to ensure efficiency and drive rising costs back down.
- Deploying small branch center locations with connections to your data center expands your reach without compromising security, efficiency, or operational ability.
Distributed Technology Infrastructure
- Your facilities must meet the challenge of not only using legacy applications but applying them over outdated infrastructure. Some of these networks are comprised of hundreds of facilities all trying to use these programs at once.
- Without strong IT management resources, it can be impossible to know what’s happening on your own network.
- Through a strong, connected network, you can simplify your IT management and empower your staff.
Retail Operations Efficiency
- Retail infrastructure consists of complex systems. You need all the power you can get out of your IT systems to meet requirements and prepare for new technology adoption.
- Pressure is rising to reduce your costs, improve performance, and increase staff productivity and efficiency.
- As the IoT grows, your systems will be increasingly taxed by the volume of incoming data and connected devices. Your infrastructure needs to keep up with growing requirements and your infrastructure efficiency needs to increase with each addition.
Enable “Green” Solutions & Sustainability
- Large retail facilities use a tremendous amount of energy. Getting the most efficient tech possible is a huge priority to drive down skyrocketing power costs and conserve funds.
- Energy-efficient equipment upgrades and replacements help decrease costs and the storefront’s environmental footprint. Optimizing your infrastructure can be a simple but powerful way to lower costs.
Critical Power Quality Concerns
- Low power quality, poor installation, or problems in your electrical grid can severely impact critical infrastructure equipment and lower the quality of service for your customers.
- Unplanned equipment downtime due to power problems can severely impact critical services and put them at unnecessary risk.
- Clean, reliable, and efficient power starts with proper design, equipment selection, and installation. Regular system testing can also help ensure efficient, safe, and continuous operation.
Retail Technology Infrastructure Services
As you look to optimize your retail operations, we provide a variety of solutions to keep your infrastructure secure and online. Connect with us to schedule a call with one of our engineers to determine the best solution for your retail facilities.
How We Can Help
- Simplify the management and design of your IT infrastructure.
- Build your infrastructure power system into a reliable, efficient, and eco-friendly system.
- Aid your operations in the transition to IoT.
- Create compliant energy and data storage solutions.
- Empower you and your team to do the best work.
Transform Your Retail Critical Infrastructure with a Partner You Can Trust
Technology is ever-expanding and growing quickly in complexity and cost. You need a partner who understands the stringent requirements and incredible regulatory complexities of retail. You need a partner with industry experience, dedication to safety and efficiency, and expertise in IT fields.
We can help lower your power costs, increase your security, create an efficient network, establish strong infrastructure, and empower your team to provide the best possible environment for your customers and employees. Contact us today to start moving toward tomorrow!