Embracing the pop-up: how to ensure you are ready to meet your ideal customers anywhere
The Retail sector is more diverse, dynamic, and rapidly changing than any other time in its history. This not only encompasses the way customers make their purchases – with online shopping, click-and-collect, and in-person shopping all converging to offer true, end-to-end experiences – but also the way retailers open and operate new sites. Whether this means trendy pop-up shops, kiosks at other brands' locations, or booths at events, retailers from up-and-coming start-ups to global leaders are no longer relying on fixed high-street locations to welcome their customers and put their wares on display, instead making sure they are present wherever their ideal customers are, and fully prepared to offer a world-class experience that builds brand recognition and loyalty.
This challenge is made more complex by the retail sector's growing dependence on smart devices, digital signage, Cloud applications, and real-time analytics of customers' buying habits, along with an increasingly complex cyber threat landscape. Many of the nation's highstreets are still in the early stages of their networking maturity, with many incumbent providers unable to deliver the bandwidth required to unleash the full potential of these technologies, and their incumbent providers unable to guarantee a consistent standard of performance. As a result, their successful deployment is dependant on the underlying physical infrastructure being put in place beforehand, which will frequently prove time-consuming, expensive, and require a substantial investment for a site that will only be used for a set period of time – which ultimately, defeats the purpose of a pop-up shop!
Fortunately, the ongoing evolution of networking technology means that retailers need not let these concerns hold them back from embracing a more flexible, agile approach to opening new locations. Let's take a closer look at some of the key elements to consider…
Develop an agile supply chain
The availability of the necessary hardware is a frequent stumbling block when deploying any new networking solution, but cultivating a diverse supply chain will help avoid this, ensuring hardware can be sourced from multiple suppliers, if necessary.
Work with your technology partner to develop an independent solution
It is advisable to not be dependent on a single provider of wired solutions, to retain your freedom of choice when it comes to hardware. A technology provider who adopts a vendor-agnostic approach will be able to design, deliver, and support a networking solution utilising a range of technologies, ensuring you are free to utilise whatever best suits your immediate and long-term needs.
Consider seasonal peaks and troughs
All retailers are familiar with the peaks and troughs they experience throughout the year, whether that's in terms of online traffic or footfall at physical locations. The scalability of any networking solution – whether it is intended for short-term or long-term use – is of paramount importance, which presents a powerful argument for the implementation of Cloud systems and centralised network management. This will ensure the additional resources required during the busiest periods can be quickly deployed where and when they are needed, ensuring performance, availability, and cost control can all be maintained.
Embrace software-defined technologies
Software-defined networking provides retailers own IT teams with complete control and visibility over their entire infrastructure, and its overall security posture, ensuring corporate security policies continue to be applied consistently across pop-up sites, along with the flexibility to utilise both LTE and wired broadband for the WAN.
Furthermore, the use of mobile technologies ensures this high-quality connectivity can be deployed and utilised in a matter of days, regardless of the current maturity of the existing physical infrastructure, ensuring trading can commence as quickly as possible. The network can then be either be removed when the site is no longer required or utilised as a backup once the required physical infrastructure has been deployed, for an additional layer of resilience.
In this way, networking technology is rapidly evolving to match the Retail sector's growing agility, ensuring the drive to expand the availability of consumers' ideal products and solutions is never hindered by technical considerations, with a consistently world-class customer experience throughout.
Do not hesitate to contact our team to discuss your connectivity requirements in depth, and how we can help bring your next pop-ups to life!
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