Part 5: Your Retail Pop-Up Technology Cheat Sheet
Before I get to the Part 6 discussion of why Wireless Wide Area Networks (WWANs) are the perfect solution for pop-up network connectivity, I want to give you a few guidelines to keep in mind when you’re thinking about retail pop-up stores.
I should say at the outset that there is a wide range of pop-up options and objectives. As such, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The suggestions I offer below will help you think about ways to efficiently create a more technologically advanced site—one that gets you ready for peak season by enabling your pop-up location to do it all: meet PCI DSS 3.0 standards, conduct mobile POS and inventory management, perform surveillance and loss protection, provide phone service, mobile receipt printing, and ensure a high level of network uptime with immediate failover.
Router, Public & Private WiFi Networks
Ideally, the router you use to establish network connectivity to your pop-up will provide strong security measures that allow it to be part of a PCI compliant solution (specifically, the new Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards version 3.0). It should be able to provide WiFi security, VPN endpoint connectivity, and network segmentation to protect all that peak-season credit card data going across your network.
At the same time, your router should provide connectivity for multiple applications including POS devices, public and private WiFi, web cameras, VoIP phones, printers, and more. By processing credit card transactions on a Parallel Network, a network that is physically “air-gapped” from other networks, you can maintain a high level of security and enable PCI compliance. (This solution requires an additional routing device - one for the POS and one for the other applications.)
POS & Inventory Management
Mobile and tablet devices are an ideal solution for POS transactions (as a replacement for a cash register) and inventory management, as well as for enabling salespeople or self-serve kiosks to look up answers to customer questions. Mobile device management (MDM) platforms allow central management of device security, in addition to geo-tracking and remote wipe functionality in case of lost or stolen devices. Numerous web-based Point-of-Sale solutions are available currently, including the free entry-level Square application or Intuit’s business-grade GoPayment. These solutions help you keep the transactions flowing and make sure you have the inventory you need to meet the needs of each individual shopper.
IP Web Camera
Hopefully, your pop-ups will be seeing a lot of foot traffic during this season. Web cameras for surveillance and loss protection can be monitored in the pop-up store itself or remotely over the Internet at your central IT headquarters. Cisco offers an enterprise-grade wireless IP Camera with two way audio and the ability to pan and tilt the camera. The Keebox IPC1000WI Wireless N Day/Night Internet Camera enables night vision surveillance.
With the exception of having employees use their own or company-provided mobile phones, the voice-over-IP phone is the only option that makes sense for a short-term pop-up retail outlet. It allows a phone number and IP phone to be instantaneously ported and installed from one pop-up site to the next, without switching or installation costs.
Although most mobile commerce POS applications can deliver receipts via email, some customers will want a paper copy or gift receipt at the time of purchase. The WiFi enabled Star TSP 650 Series: TSP651 Receipt Printer is one such example.
Failover & Backup
Every minute counts in pop-up retail—especially during the peak season. If a piece of hardware breaks or your Internet connection fails, you can’t want to wait hours or days for a third-party to fit you into their repair schedule. For a cost-effective failover solution, consider combining primary and failover connections on one Advanced Edge Routing (AER) device with dual modems/dual SIMs and be always connected and protected.
In the final post of this six-part series on getting the most from your peak-selling season, I’ll talk about how Cradlepoint 4G LTE solutions can help you create a technologically advanced but easy to manage pop-up site that keeps your customers happy and your location running smoothly for maximizing your peak-selling season.