Shopping isn't what it used to be. As the last ten years and shopping during the pandemic have shown, retail stores have to compete not only with eCommerce: The nature of local shopping itself has changed. The seamless store, shop & go, delivery services, and the autonomous scanning of products with handheld scanners are just a few examples of this. Fast, self-empowering, contactless, automatic, and customized: These are all aspects which are increasingly important in retail, for customers and retailers alike.
Modern retail technologies and trends often rely on wireless connections, which in turn depend upon strong and uninterrupted wireless coverage. Your best bet is for your network infrastructure to be set up and maintained professionally and in a spirit of partnership – by a retail network specialist like LANCOM, with 20 years of experience in retail networking.
Your customers know what they want, be it consciously or unconsciously. As the high acceptance of self-service checkouts, shopping apps, delivery services, and contactless payment shows: Convenience, speed, and customization are also on the rise in everyday shopping. In future they will want to shop in seamless stores, which are well connected and provide a modern, seamless shopping experience, both physically and digitally.
Furthermore, you as a retailer will be familiar with the advantages of automated and standardized processes, a stable and reliable Internet connection, and product presentations tailored to customers – the moment you digitalize your business.
What customers enjoy with Retail 4.0:
- Fast, checkout-free, self-determined shopping without long waits (shop and go / instant shopping), e.g. with handheld scanners for self-scanning of the goods, or self-service checkouts
- Digital shopping lists per app with current offers, recommendations, discounts, and real-time synchronization in case any additional requests arrive from home
- Convenient and reliable delivery services (from the supermarket itself or via external apps)
- Individual shopping times and product recommendations (24/7 availability)
- Contactless payment via smartphone or card
- Higher environmental awareness and sustainability (resource-saving production, social responsibility, plastic-free packaging, unpackaged goods, etc.)
Advantages for retailers in Retail 4.0:
- Automatic synchronization of inventories, offers, prices, and much more with the central merchandise management system, etc.
- Provide relief for on-site staff, deal with staff shortages and peak-hours effortlessly with self-checkout and other smart features for greater customer autonomy
- Problem-free use and integration of digital services such as online shops, digital customer surveys, online marketing, and much more.
- More attractive working conditions through relief, hybrid working, and faster training thanks to computer-aided systems, etc.
- Optional use of modern technologies such as electronic shelf labels, digital signage, or digital platforms
- Possibility of lucrative collaborations with other industries or brands through problem-free technical connection
- Crisis-proof thanks to greater flexibility (faster response to health-protection measures, supply chain problems, inflation, etc.)
- Analysis of visitor flows, Wi-Fi hotspots, and user behavior to increase sales
In the best case, a quality customer Wi-Fi results in an excellent Internet connection and useful offers for your customers – but it also exposes data that is worth protecting: Using the SSIDs of the customer smartphones and their communication with the Wi-Fi access points in your store, for example, the time of arrival, length of stay, and movement pattern / behavior on your premises can be identified and, with a few additional data from Internet providers, clearly assigned to specific individuals.
By using a LANCOM network, you show your customers that you handle this data confidentially and in compliance with the GDPR. For us, backdoor-free hardware and software engineered in Germany, secure cloud hosting in Germany, the highest level of compliance, and a high data protection standard are all part of a secure infrastructure. So your customers go shopping with a good feeling and you are guaranteed to be on the legally compliant side.
Digitalizing your supermarket or DIY chain store, petrol station or pharmacy, your fashion, food or cosmetics store, or even your shop around the corner is well worthwhile. The key to the future of shopping is referred to as "Connected Retail": You take the significant advantages of your brick-and-mortar store and combine them with enriching digital components such as electronic signage and shelf labels, omnichannel marketing, your own applications, buy-it-now options in the online shop if the store is out of stock, tracking, and much more. Or even just a reliable Internet connection.
To invest in a powerful network that you can design to meet your needs is to invest in the future of your business.
Wi-Fi is one of the most dynamic areas in network technology. The influences on Wi-Fi quality are numerous – wireless networks in neighboring buildings, radio sources such as microwaves, changing numbers of end devices, challenging building conditions. The LANCOM Management Cloud and the powerful, “thinking” access points from LANCOM assure you of the best possible Wi-Fi at all times.
The unique self-learning automation solution LANCOM Active Radio Control™ 2.0 fully optimizes Wi-Fi installations based on real usage data and minimizes the effort and cost of Wi-Fi setup and operation. Launch your branches immediately with the best Wi-Fi and the highest quality connections.
The amount of time it takes to update advertising panels or to change price labels on products is amazingly high. Often, entire banners, display stands, signs and brochures have to be renewed and attractively presented, not to mention the countless paper price tags that have to be stuck to the products with a price gun or manually stuck to the shelves every time there is a price change.
Not in modern retail: Digital price tags are mounted just once and can be adjusted at any time without even touching them.
Electronic shelf labels (ESL)
The small, daylight-compatible ePaper Displays have a long battery life and communicate wirelessly with the retail network. This allows prices, article descriptions, and even bar or QR codes to be updated at any time, individually and centrally from the merchandise management system by wireless – without interference on a single shared infrastructure. The same also works for shelf signs in the warehouse.
Would you like to learn more about electronic shelf labeling with LANCOM? Then visit out topic webpage and feel free to make a non-binding appointment for consultation.
Secure connection to and cooperation with credit institutions
In retail stores, ensuring a secure payment system is essential for business operations. EC Cash processing must function smoothly and at the same have maximum security against unauthorized access.
- Secure network isolation with encrypted VPN transmission
- Sensitive data cannot be intercepted
- Securely implement practical cash-back cooperations with different banks (customers pay more than the value of the goods via card or app and receive cash from your checkout system in return)
A guest hotspot for the smooth functioning of apps
In shopping centers or malls, poor mobile-phone reception is not uncommon. Make sure your customers' shopping experience is uncompromised! It is easy to implement a secure customer hotspot with LANCOM. The advantages are significant:
- Personalized target marketing via customer smartphones
- Seamless Internet availability for high customer satisfaction
- Active synchronization of digital shopping lists, etc.
Shop-in-shop cooperation made easy
In some situations, other sellers can bring interesting additions to the offerings at your store. With shop-in-shop cooperations, you can rent out parts of your store space and integrate other shops into your store. LANCOM specializes in this type of infrastructure:
- Secure isolation of the infrastructures of both shops
- Fast and easy installation of the technology
- Reliable access of the internal shop via cellular network
Hybrid working in retail
Particularly in the retail sector, peak periods such as Black Friday, Easter and the run-up to Christmas mean that there are store rushes, which can quickly lead to staff shortages. The more flexible stores are in terms of working location and hours, the better.
How about theses ideas:
- Support of the online store from mobile employees
- Accounting or reorder actions also from the home office
- Secure connection of external service providers
Intelligent digital retail networking
"In recent years, shopping has become faster, contactless and, above all, is increasingly digital. [...] At the same time, it is clear that the classic retail store is still the most important touchpoint for a personal, high-quality shopping experience. To manage the balancing act between stationary and digital sales channels, or even in store and online trade, what we need more than ever is a profitable symbiosis of networking solutions that are specifically tailored to the diverse requirements across the retail sector. From chain stores and franchisers to shop-in-shop operators, it is important to cost-effectively plan individual retail networks and roll them out as widely and as quickly as possible."
LANCOM White Paper about smart retail infrastructures and network requirements
Your footing in sustainable retail does not need to take up much space. A next-generation UTM firewall or a gateway / router and a few access points for optimal Wi-Fi coverage of your store are all you need to equip small shops with a high-performance Internet connection.
For special requirements such as network zoning, scalability, or compliance, LANCOM puts together the perfect retail product package that covers all the necessary network segments (WAN, LAN, Wi-Fi, security) and can be multiplied as required for each branch – for maximum cost transparency and optimal network planning. Be it a classic branch network or a franchise, with LANCOM your network offers a modern sales and shopping experience.
Extremely handy: The LANCOM Management Cloud (LMC) is the intelligent, collaborative heart of your retail network.
As a clearly structured and user-friendly network management platform, all devices in the network are commissioned, configured, and monitored quickly and via zero-touch deployment. What’s more, the LMC is a analysis expert. Not only does it help you to optimize your IT network, it also gives you valuable around-the-clock data on the utilization of your devices in terms of the number of clients, and much more. All of which helps you to made decisions about the shop layout and how to present your goods.
Your software-defined IT network for connected retail could then appear as follows: Thanks to the many interfaces of the LANCOM gateways, routers and LANCOM R&S®Unified Firewalls, your own employees working from home and on site, and also your external service providers, such as marketing agencies or building security companies, only have the access authorizations to your network that they need for their work.
Camera systems, telephony, advertising screens, and price tag displays can be easily integrated into LANCOM's retail 4.0 network. The connection to the central merchandise management system and other important servers is available at all times and can be additionally secured using backup functions.