GREETING CARD CREATOR DEPLOYS CRADLEPOINT SOLUTIONS TO CONNECT & MANAGE GREETING CARD KIOSK
Since its founding in the early 1900s, this greeting card company has become an instantly recognized brand, providing consumers worldwide with a wide range of greeting cards and related products. As part of a new initiative to provide consumers with the ability to access and personalize its products in new locations, the company has recently installed greeting card kiosks inside a limited number of U.S. retail stores.
Each self-service kiosk contains a touch-screen computer that enables consumers to choose from an assortment of greeting cards to which they can add personalized messages and photographs. The kiosks use Cradlepoint COR Series routers to send consumer orders wirelessly over the Internet to the company’s production facilities. The finished cards are then mailed to intended recipients.
“With Cradlepoint's solutions we are able to bring our kiosks into stores in a way that doesn't disrupt the retailer,” says a senior member of the company’s IT staff. “We can have network connectivity wherever we need it; and get it securely, flexibly, and reliably.”
Headquartered in the mid-West, this privately owned company’s products are available in the U.S., Canada, and around the world. With recent year's annual revenues in the billions of dollars, the brand also reaches people online and on broadcast and cable television.
The company’s line includes thousands of products including greeting cards, invitations, announcements, and more. Each product enables the gift giver to express personal sentiments to the gift’s recipient.
However, a rapid increase in the number and functionality of Internet-connected devices has placed the ability to express these same sentiments at people’s fingertips. Smart phones enable people to set reminders of important dates, send digital greeting cards, and exchange highly personalized updates of where they are, what they’re doing, and who they’re doing it with. This company’s challenge is to keep its business relevant in this new connected environment.
The company’s new kiosks are designed to combine the speed of the Internet with the pleasure of receiving physical, as opposed to digital, greetings. The kiosks also give consumers access to a much wider variety of greeting and occasion cards than they would find in an average store. Consumer can then add personal greetings, perhaps insert a photograph, and include the intended recipient’s mailing address. The order is then sent digitally to one of the company’s production facilities, which prints and mails the card.
Cradlepoint COR Series routers enable the company to place the greeting card kiosks in retail store locations, and to do so without causing undo infringement on the store. Needing nothing more than a power source, the M2M routers instantly provide a secure and reliable wireless network connection to company headquarters and production centers. The company uses Cradlepoint NetCloud Manager to manage the devices in its geographically distributed system. This cloud-enabled platform gives the company the ability to centrally deploy, configure, and dynamically manage each router improving network reliability and PCI compliance.
Reliability: For any company working in the retail space, customer satisfaction is a primary goal. Cradlepoint’s “Four-Nines” reliability means that the company’s kiosks stay connected. This is particularly important when Cradlepoint routers are providing the only connection to the Internet, as is the case with these kiosks.
“If a kiosk gets disconnected, a customer may have gone all the way through the personalization process, and then not be able to complete the order. Not only does this lose us a sale and a chance to serve our customer, it may also frustrate them to the point where they may never want to try the kiosk again. So reliability is very important to us.”
Speed: The ability of Cradlepoint COR Series routers to connect at 4G speeds is important to the company. The images and text involved in the personalization process can require the movement of large amounts of data – much more than is involved in normal retail transactions. The increased speed and capacity of 4G LTE means that customers can complete their greeting card orders quickly.
Flexibility: Cradlepoint network solutions are designed to support more than 70 different carriers. This flexibility allows the company to place its Internet-connected kiosks in almost any location, whether the store is in the middle of a city or at a remote tourist attraction. Wireless connectivity means the kiosks can be located in places where customers will notice them, such as in the middle of busy aisles.
“When we think about what Cradlepoint and high-speed wireless networks can do together, we see that we have an opportunity to build consumer value differently than we ever have before. Knowing that we can deliver that kind of speed and network access to virtually any location, and do it so easily, gives us more tools to meet the consumer’s needs.”
Experience: Founded in 2004, Cradlepoint has built strong relationships with the software companies, solution providers, and wireless carriers that help it deliver a reliable, secure network to virtually any location.
“The software company we worked with to create the kiosk program has a lot of experience supporting network connectivity at retail. They were familiar with Cradlepoint’s solution and services and recommended it as essentially best-in-class. We then had that echoed from the wireless carriers we talked to, so we felt very comfortable choosing Cradlepoint for the kiosk program.”