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There is a lot going on in retail. Stores are transforming into digital experiences. Online shopping is convenient, but human beings rely on all of their senses to make decisions. Despite the rise of online shopping, the retail store remains the hub of the retail operation. The store is not going away—now, instead of being the only channel to make a purchase, it has become one of the channels.

Retailers Want to Make Their Stores Great Places to Shop

Organizations want to build the retail store of the future and enable digital transformation. Retail stores are using technology to improve the shopping experience, but this requires having a reliable network. The need for a resilient IT platform for robust orchestration of in-store and cross-channel processes will become a central focus for retailers.

It’s not like the old days with manual cash registers when you could get by if the power went out. These days retailers need reliable WAN circuits to outshine competitors.

The Way That Retailers Market Their Merchandise is Changing

Years ago, retail marketing was focused on getting people into the store. People would walk in, browse the merchandise and purchase. Now it is a different picture.

Today retailers need to lead people into the store, cross-promote to them inside the store, follow them via multimedia channels, and be there any time and anywhere the buyer might decide to purchase. After the purchase, retailers must ensure customer satisfaction with a seamless fulfillment processes to gain repeat business. Retail IT teams are tasked not just with cost-cutting, but also with revenue creation and this means transforming the store into a digitally enhanced buying experience.

The Retail Store is Becoming Complex

In the store you have to not only carry inventory, but also present it well. The space should be approachable and pleasant for an enjoyable experience.

As the store becomes the hub of the shopping experience, it will be teeming with technology. There will be self-checkout, mobile point of sale, digital signage. Digital coupons will be redeemed on a phone by customers. Their purchases will be recorded and used to reward them with loyalty programs. Virtual assistants will help customers try on clothing virtually using full sized digital displays. Digital signage will alert shoppers to deals and sales.

For the digital transformation to happen, retailers need to support smart devices and provide guest WiFi. The guest’s traffic will need to be kept separate from the store’s own traffic. Everything has got to be secure. Retail organizations must comply with PCI guidelines for securing payment card data.

The Network Needs to Change to Support the Future: SD-WAN is the Answer

There are some challenges with getting the right retail network design. Advanced applications won’t help if the underlying network architecture is outdated. The answer to these challenges is to embrace a network that is more responsive and better adapted to the changing needs of the retail store. SD-WAN can provide the right capabilities, including:

  • Application traffic prioritization to provide a guaranteed quality of experience.
  • Built in security and the ability to chain to external services to provide a secured Internet.
  • The ability to combine links so that that you get maximized bandwidth.
  • A centralized orchestrator to provide rapid provisioning.
  • Application prioritization capabilities to ensure that critical data gets through.
  • Application performance management tools to provide 360-degree visibility.
  • Hosted gateways to provide a direct link to the cloud with no backhaul to the data center.

For More Information

Read the solution brief: Building the Network for the Retail Store of the Future

Read the eBook: Creating the Retail Store of the Future

Watch the webinar: SD-WAN is Transforming the Retail Industry

Listen to the podcast from our partner, Meriplex: SD-WAN 360

Join us at NRF 2020 in January!