Brick & Mortar Retail in a Digital World: Cloud Networking Helps Make Shopping Safer and Enhances the Customer Experience

Brick & Mortar Retail in a Digital World: Cloud Networking Helps Make Shopping Safer and Enhances the Customer Experience

Businesses have increasingly been moving their applications and infrastructure to the cloud to save money, help increase security, and reduce in-house IT support and equipment demands. According to Mordor Intelligence, the cloud migration market is expected to increase from $119.13 billion, in 2020, to over $448 billion by 2026.

2020 was a tough year for retailers! When stores shut down suddenly, around the world, many businesses had to move quickly from storefront to e-commerce. Those still operating needed to install or upgrade point of sale systems to accept contactless and online payment methods. Cloud solutions helped provide retailers with the computing power necessary to meet and manage these obligations while continuing to deliver the best possible customer experience.

If you had to suddenly move inventory online, add a security system, or set up employees for remote work, without the physical IT infrastructure already in place, you’ve realized the benefits of cloud networking. While retailers may have been slow adopters of cloud networking services before 2020, the pandemic has shown how invaluable they are moving forward, during the pandemic and beyond.

Cloud Networking Solutions to Assist in Safer Shopping (and Working) During the Pandemic

Expanding a retail network is as easy as adding new access points wherever you need wireless access. Install them in stockrooms, near cash registers, or throughout the store to ensure staff and customers get fast, reliable access to the internet, as needed.  Access points are preconfigured before they are delivered so you can set up, manage, monitor, and troubleshoot WiFi and business applications remotely, using a browser, even if you’re not a technical wizard.

Contactless Payment

When the highly contagious virus first appeared, the use of contactless payment systems skyrocketed. With updated POS systems, customers could pay with chip-enabled cards or smartphone apps and stores operating with curbside or delivery service could accept online payment. A reduced need to touch surfaces and handle cash help to enable safer shopping for staff and customers.

Surveillance Systems

When retailers had to establish physical distancing procedures, staff relied more on surveillance cameras to monitor safety and security issues in line-ups and throughout their buildings.

Many businesses would have struggled to put the physical infrastructure in place to support these new or upgraded services, but with cloud networking, they could add devices quickly, and easily, without the need for massive IT support. Cloud managed networks offer end to end encryption, further fortifying the security of your customers’ personal information. With a cloud solution, you can view what is going on with your network, see issues as they develop, and reboot as necessary.

Improving Customer Experience with Cloud Managed Networking

With or without the coronavirus, there are several ways cloud-managed services can make it easier for retailers to improve the customer experience and stay competitive in their field.

Digital Signage

Outdoors, stores are increasingly using digital signage to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to their location. Indoors, signs can be used to draw attention to products and services.

Strategically placed signs make it easy to repurpose social media content, upsell, and provide calls to action to your customers. Digital signage is also ideal for internal communication with employees in break rooms or other staff areas.

With cloud access, you can update all signs from a single location or assign the role to individuals at branch locations.

Guest WiFi

Using a captive portal, you can provide your customers with customized, fully-branded login pages. Set time limits and offer user benefits like surveys, targeted advertising, and current promotions while helping to protect your business data from malicious behavior. You choose what customers see when they access your Wi-Fi hotspot.

Loyalty Programs

Shoppers love to collect points, learn about current sales and discounts, and receive personalized offers. With a cloud-managed loyalty program, you can offer omnichannel marketing to keep your customers connected and engaged with your brand wherever they hang out.

Improving Business Operations

Whether you have a single storefront or many branches, cloud networking means you can manage your retail business from any location. Cloud servers are always operated on state-of-the-art equipment so you can deploy quickly, manage increased online traffic with ease, and enjoy faster network speeds with minimal IT costs and near-zero downtime.

Is your business growing? No problem. Cloud networks are designed for unlimited scalability. Do you lack the IT capacity to manage a large network? You can opt to outsource your managed network services.

Save Time and Money with POE Ready Switches

Trusted networks are powered by trusted hardware. Cloud-managed, Power over Ethernet (POE) switching, makes it simple. When you add new access points to POE-ready switches, you’ll eliminate the need for external power sources, run less cable, and get up and running faster.

Professional grade switching offers a variety of port options and substantial POE budgets to power the devices that are essential for your business. With remote management, you’ll have access to your entire network from any location so you can monitor and respond to system issues as they occur.

D-Link’s Nuclias cloud and hardware solutions are ideal for retail settings needing quick, manageable networks to serve their staff needs and improve client relations effectively. To learn more about how Nuclias Cloud and cloud-managed switches can help you power and scale your retail business, contact us today.