To meet the evolving demands of today’s tech savvy netizens (consumers), retailers are moving close to its consumers via omni channels. Connecting the best of both the worlds – Digital and Stores – retailers are able to deliver experience on every purchase. As the unified model of commerce rises new age brick and mortar (stores) upstages as the key touchpoint to for retailers to ensure customer experience. 88% of retailers believe that stores are primary revenue stores.
The key differentiator in unified retail businesses is Customer experience. A key element in achieving customer loyalty in the omni-channel world. As the entire retail mechanism gets a new makeover, stores remain at the foundation to deliver bespoke customer experience. In the omnichannel world, customers are free to buy whenever, wherever and whichever way they feel like. Mobile and new age technology has fuelled the use of electronic based payment methods both in-store and online. Indian Retailers too are now utilizing self servicing or checkout methods. Integrating modern cloud based POS solutions with digital wallets or Aadhaar Pay / UPI or with customer smartphones is becoming a new norm.
It’s the customer who decides today when and how to buy. Often customers in-store experience are impacted by the underlying network infrastructure which increases the amount of time taken by in-store POS and other network driven services and apps. Given that 88% of retailers believe that stores are primary revenue generators, easy and flexible next gen point of sale solutions are fast becoming preferred solutions to simplify and provide customers flexible payment and checkout options – for example in-store mobile app transactions such as scan to pay, net banking, card transactions etc. Modern POS solutions allow retailers to go beyond store boundaries by empowering customers with mobile transactions. With no doubt this allows retailer to craft the best shopping experience on their preferred touch point.
Today, omnichannel customer interactions, a massive depository of data, integration of new technology, demands much more from POS solutions than just flexibility in carrying out daily transactions. From centralizing all operations with existing CRM solutions, to empowering retail business with the data, technology, and processes, modern day POS solutions can do it all. However, for retail CIOs, optimizing disruptive technologies and plucking out complex deployments, that the success of digital and cloud initiatives rely on new age networking gears (solutions). Modern era POS solutions require fast, flexible and scalable connectivity.
One of India’s largest fashion retailers implemented the Microsoft Dynamics POS, like most of the large retailers in the world. Microsoft Dynamics AX-POS is the world’s most preferred POS solution to the retailer and has many benefits. Many at times, the AX-POS is not a standalone system. It probably has many upstream and downstream connections to other lines of business and partner systems. Quality of the network and network security plays a vital role in ensuring that the POS system performance is optimal and secure to keep the entire business secure and performing. AX-POS Client is very “chatty” with the middleware installed in the data center that it needs to interact with. Greater the latency of the network, greater is the performance impact. With the lack of a reliance network, most of the retailers do a offline sync of the data from POS terminal to the central database. This is typically done before the close of store. Most of the times, especially during the seasonal sales, this data is quite large. The sync gets initiated during the evening times, a time when the sales volumes are also at their peak. This non real time sync of data comes with multitude of problems. With the brick and mortal retailers going omni channel, the lack of sales promotions and sales data in real time, makes the the retailers non competitive against their pure online competition.
Secondly, with the sync not happening with the large POS data, the retailer finance and operations miss out on critical business impacting sales and inventory information. With the sales data out of sync by day, if not more, the sales planning and finance teams are often depending on incorrect or incomplete data to plan and execute. With each POS terminal directly talking to the application middleware, the master data record of sales and transactions data across all the stores is prone to get corrupted if one of the POS terminals is infected by malware. With no way to control the POS terminals from one central location for the IT team, IT relies on the less qualified employees at the store location to manage these terminals. The chances of non standard or malicious applications getting inadvertently or even intentionally installed at these terminals becomes very high. This puts the entire operations of the company, not just the individual store, at risk, in case of a malware infection.
With the Lavelle Networks SD-WAN solution in place, the central IT has complete control over each of the POS terminals at every store managed by the company. The IT now regulates from one central command and control center, what applications get installed on the POS terminals. The system becomes real time with every sale data, which is low in size, but critical to the business being synced with the master database that is centralized in the data center. Even though there are other applications that are being accessed from the POS terminal like loyalty application, the sale data is always given priority by the network. With multiple internet links available at the store in the form of cheap commercial broadband, instead of expensive leased lines or MPLS circuits, the network always puts the critical application traffic on the best link in terms of its quality, thus ensuring that the business critical POS traffic is always prioritized and given the best possible network to ensure optimal performance.
As the surge of new age digital stores continue to optimize cloud to configure all the retail functions for the digital world, attention to Network lies at the core of every cloud initiatives. From front end to backend functions like supply chain, merchandising area, warehouse management, logistics fulfillment, returns management, distributed order management to order management solutions, payment options, real-time data and analytics solutions; connectivity via a flexible, agile and secure network defines the new identity of today’s new age experience stores. SD-WAN has become a crucial consideration for retailer to make the next leap forward towards transformation to digital. Traditional WAN does not have the potential to be the backbone for Retail Digital Transformation- for IOT, Artificial Intelligence or any other Cloud-based technology. Its a road-block to achieve nirvana in the field of unified commerce and 360° retail store experience. Retailers need to shed the weight of legacy infrastructure and upgrade to SD-WAN. We at Lavelle Networks, always recommend that enterprises should opt for SD WAN services to attain complete and agile network connectivity and the most secured end-to-end services. This is the most superior architecture that an enterprise can get for themselves. Get in touch with us here for more information. India’s top online ecommerce and retail stores runs on lavelle networks Sd-WAN solutions. To know further about how Lavelle Networks SD-WAN can transform your stores click here to contact us.