Part 6: Pop-Up Retail: WWAN as Pop-Up Connectivity Solution
In Part 4: Pop-Up Retail- A Trend Becomes a Strategy, I discussed some of the great opportunities—and challenges—that pop-up stores present. Just using common sense, it would seem pretty clear that setting up a wireless network makes a lot more sense than using a hard-wired connection to get network connectivity to your pop-up retail location. But let’s look at some specific ways that a WWAN (Wireless Wide Area Network) can make your peak-selling season at your pop-up location successful.
The number one job of any network connectivity solution is keeping the pop-up connected. With the intensity of peak-season selling, every minute of downtime can cost a fortune. Cradlepoint’s devices deliver 99.99% uptime to keep your stores running: if the primary connection goes down, the device will automatically failover to a second carrier without interrupting your business operations. Your WWAN stays up so credit card transactions can continue, customers can keep browsing, and in-store signage and displays can keep enticing customers.
Safe & Secure
As I mentioned in Part 4, some pop-up operations piggyback off of any Internet connection they can find. That should send a chill up the back of any IT professional. Given all of the shaky connections and unprotected devices now in use at distributed retail locations by customers and staff alike, it’s no wonder that these locations have become an increasingly popular target for data breaches. Cradlepoint solutions, especially when used with our NetCloud Manager applications, combine advanced security, private network support, and Internet browsing security to protect your customers data.
Broad Enough to Support the IoT
As retail sales move out of the store and into pop-up locations, in-store kiosks, and other innovative use of mobile technology, customer expectations rise. Even though your pop-up may be on the beach or in a parking lot, customers expect access to the same Internet of Things (IoT) technology they get in bricks-and-mortar locations like browsing the Internet, sending emails and texts, and making phone calls. You want to be able to advertise to them via their mobile devices, run your video displays and signage, and gather customer data. Cradlepoint delivers high-performance in a platform that can be deployed, managed, and optimized to deliver cloud-enabled services, applications, and analytics.
Fast, Easy Deployment
When you consider that some retail organizations may think that the only way to get network connectivity to a pop-up location is by installing costly hard wires, it’s easy to see why some choose to piggyback on those existing, unsecured wireless networks. If they only knew that creating their own network is just a matter of plugging in a Cradlepoint device, they might chose a different solution.
This is especially true when you compare Cradlepoint’s “plug and play” solution with a hardwired connection. You may have a hard open date for your location but with wired solutions, you rely on the ability of third-party providers to fit your cable installation into their schedule. For Pop-up locations that need the flexibility of moving to several locations through out a season, wired solutions are not justifiable. Wireless 4G solutions offer that flexible, fast, zero-touch deployments and are portable networks you can take with you as your locations move. All you need is an electricity!
3 Easy Steps to Create Your WWAN
With Cradlepoint solutions, a fully equipped and secure mobile pop-up store can create a network to be used for multiple purposes following these easy set-up procedures:
Network Segmentation: To serve the variety of needs and applications, even within a small pop-up location, Cradlepoint solutions provide advanced, flexible functionality. A best practice is to use network segmentation to specify the individual networks and ensure each application (like your POS) is separated from non-critical applications (like digital signage).
Parallel Networks: Recent incidents have shown how hackers use mis-configurations in segmented networks or pivot attacks in monolithic networks to gain access to sensitive data. In response, many enterprises have transitioned to Parallel Networks (also known as “air-gapping”). Cradlepoint solutions are affordable enough to enable these enterprises to use individual routers for each pop-up network (e.g. one for ecommerce, another for customer WiFi).
VPN Set-Up: For large retailers, the interface between a pop-up POS transaction and your corporate network will need to be locked down with a VPN connection. Cradlepoint provides these enterprises with a number of ways to quickly establish these VPN connections.
Whether it’s ensuring an always-on connection for your pop-up store networks, powering intelligent systems aimed at swaying customer behavior, or transmitting real-time analytics to inform marketing and inventory decisions, the bedrock of successful retailing is a network that can support the growing list of mission-critical applications dependent on secure Internet connectivity.
In the past, it has been difficult for retail enterprise IT managers to find solutions that meet these demands: DSL can mean hours of downtime each month, T1 lines cost a fortune. Cradlepoint WWAN solution give retail enterprises the flexible network connectivity they need, whether in the store or at that cool beachfront pop-up shop location.