Retail’s COVID-19 Technology Challenges February 19, 2021 Tim Tang, Director, Enterprise Solutions Retail Technology false For many businesses, the past year has been full of impressive technology deployments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In less than a few months, or in some cases weeks, restaurants and retailers have rolled out substantial new digital capabilities, such as mobile ordering, curbside pickup, QR code menus, contactless payment, and third-party delivery integration. While these new technologies have enabled many businesses to survive, they’ve also introduced a meaningful liability—dependence on the store’s or the customer’s connection to the Internet. Before the pandemic, the customer experience at many of these businesses was simply enhanced by the Internet—without a connection, customers could still shop or order food, and most POS systems supported offline credit card transactions. In other words, stores and restaurants could still serve their customers. That changed with COVID-19. Now, without an Internet connection, the customer cannot scan a QR code, browse a menu, or order a meal, and employees cannot receive mobile orders. With COVID-19, the Internet has become a bottleneck for the store experience! As more restaurants and retailers become dependent on third-party delivery platforms to engage with new customers, losing connection to the Internet translates into immediate and long-term financial losses. With third-party delivery, ordering from another location is just as easy as ordering from yours, so first impressions are important. Once a customer has had a positive experience with one business, why would they return to the business they had trouble ordering from? The good news is that complete Internet outages are rare, and installing a backup connection can help prevent this. The bad news is that network issues such as congestion, packet loss, and latency are common and can be just as damaging to the customer experience. These can still result in mobile orders failing to reach the restaurant, customers not redeeming their loyalty rewards, and employees receiving blame for something that is beyond their control. Today, online retail accounts for 14.1% of all retail sales. With COVID-19, especially in places where indoor dining is banned, some restaurants report that digital orders account for over 70% of sales. This is a stark difference—intermittent interference with 14% of a store’s revenue stream can be inconvenient; disruption of over 70% of a store’s revenue stream with a “sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t” Internet connection could ruin a business. As COVID-19 exposes businesses’ dependence on the Internet, retailers need to look beyond generic business Internet service plans and consider managed SD-WAN solutions. Managed SD-WAN compensates for inconsistent Internet performance to provide a consistent, enterprise-grade customer and employee experience. Categories See All SD-WAN (58) Networking (31) Retail Technology (24) Managed Services (13) Managed Security (12) EMV (11) SASE (10) Conference (7) Edge Computing (7) Digital Media (6) WiFi Analytics (5) SCS (2) Popular Blogs HUG 2021 Digital Transformation Insights Jul 26, 2021 What to do When the Network is the Lifeline for a Franchise BusinessJul 28, 2021 5 Tips to Maintain Business as Usual During Hurricane SeasonAug 11, 2021 5 Digital Turning Points in RetailAug 16, 2021 Making a List. Checking it Twice. Five Tips to Prep Stores for the Holiday SeasonAug 23, 2021 Related Posts See All Is a More Hands-on Approach Better for Your Franchisee Networks—and Customers? October 12, 2021 5 Major Turning Points in the History of e-Commerce Tim Tang, Director, Enterprise Solutions September 02, 2021 5 Digital Turning Points in Retail Tim Tang, Director, Enterprise Solutions August 16, 2021 3 Top Trend-based Opportunities for C-Stores Tim Tang, Director, Enterprise Solutions June 18, 2021 Market-Driven Technology Roadmaps Tim Tang, Director, Enterprise Solutions April 14, 2021 ENJOY THIS POST? Provide your email below to receive a monthly round-up of what’s happening in the world of connectivity! First Name Last Name Email Company Campaign ID CAPTCHA This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.