Retail has taken a quantum leap in 2020. According to eMarketer, ecommerce has reached levels we didn’t expect to see until 2022.
Consumers are buying in more ways than ever before: it’s no longer about buying online or in brick-and-mortar stores. People are buying online and picking up in-store, often curbside or with contactless pickup, or buying in-store and returning online. And many retailers are using so-called “dark stores” as retail distribution to fulfill e-commerce orders.
We’ll see those trends come to life this holiday season, with 60% of consumers saying they plan to purchase holiday items online this year, according to the National Retail Federation. Other shoppers plan to take advantage of curbside pickup or other safe in-store shopping methods.
No matter how they shop, consumers are expecting a seamless experience. Your customers are shopping everywhere, so every site needs to be supported. There are two main ways to make sure you have the insight you need at all locations:
1. Visibility – many retail IT sites are likely at the edge, in areas without tech support nearby or that weren’t intended to house critical infrastructure. Especially in today’s work-from-home reality, you need a line of sight into all the equipment that keeps your platforms up and running.
Take equipment that’s housed in the stock room of one of your stores. Employees may have access to the space to restock items, but you need to make sure they don’t interfere with the equipment.
Sensors can provide insight into what’s going on at any given moment in that stock room. In fact, when sensors work together, you’re able to have a clear picture of your sites, while alerting you to threatening conditions.
Light sensors and motion detector sensors can help you monitor activity in the stock room, to let you know if a light has been left on or if someone has gotten too close to the equipment.
Your equipment in the stock room is sensitive to temperature changes, and an increase of even a few degrees can wreak havoc on the performance of your IT systems. So, temperature, airflow, and humidity sensors can work together to alert you to any potential issues in real-time. Staying ahead of these issues can help you maintain a smooth shopping experience for your customers, no matter how they choose to shop.
2. Monitoring– Visibility is only one piece of the puzzle. You have to be able to act on what you find. That’s where monitoring comes in. A robust monitoring solution – like Environet Alert or the Wireless Sensor Network – allows you to safely and remotely monitor all of your sites across the network to ensure they are running at peak efficiency. You’ll be able to stay ahead of issues, avoid costly downtime, and keep your customers satisfied with their purchase process.
For large retailers, centralized management software can offer the holistic, real-time information you need to make important business decisions. And, monitoring plays a key role in ensuring business continuity.
With the complexity of the current retail landscape, it’s more important than ever to have a robust IT infrastructure across your sites. Vertiv can help you bring visibility and monitoring to your sites, to make sure you can meet your customers’ needs.