COVID-19 has created a greater need for contactless shopping and mobile check-out. Many people now do their grocery or household shopping by ordering online and using a curbside pick-up option. Others choose to enter the store and use their phones or proprietary retailer apps to shop quickly and efficiently. No matter the choice, retailers must continue to provide a positive customer experience for the new normal, including drama-free Wi-Fi. Here’s a look at three things your business will need in order to have a better network performance.
1 Heat mapping & Predictive Site Surveys
All retail spaces (as well as their corresponding warehouses) should consider Heat mapping and Predictive Site Surveys as a first step toward supporting a better experience for employees and customers.
During a Predictive Site Survey, a Field Technician visits your store and then marks up a site plan with existing access point (AP) locations. He or she will then use software to determine what kind of coverage you’ll have for your network with the proper Access Point placement.
A Predictive Site Survey will show you:
- How to position infrastructure including checkout lanes and merchandise
- Where to install your APs
- Guest access
- Security loopholes
- Potential dead spots /slow areas
Heat Mapping utilizes a visual map of the retail space combined with network performance tests (such as your Predictive Site Survey results) to determine where network signal is at acceptable levels and where the network coverage needs to be improved. On the Heat map, warmest areas shown will have the best coverage and the coolest areas have the worst or no coverage. Combining your Predictive Site Surveys with Heat Mapping is the best way to quickly and accurately identify where network access can be improved.
2 Upgraded Network Equipment
Your network, once configured properly, is only as good as its hardware/equipment. Access Points (APs) for example, need to be considered carefully. You’ll want plenty of APs that can handle high-density traffic, positioned properly throughout your retail space. Some APs available today, like those by Cisco Meraki, can record customer data that will help you understand traffic patterns and where customers are congregating in the store/most visited areas of the store.
3 Wi-Fi 6
If you’re not running on Wi-Fi 6, it’s time to step up your game. Wi-Fi 6, or the IEEE standard 802.11ax, replaces 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5). It has a multitude of advantages over the previous generation. Most simply put: It’s lightning-fast and can handle dense network traffic. This means that no matter how crowded the space, everyone can still get on the network and have a good experience.
Wi-Fi 6 will also support current and future technologies that are much more dependent on the wireless infrastructure from a bandwidth standpoint–including wireless cameras and customer counters that map customer traffic/movement and density.
Get Ready For The New Shopping Frontier
As markets recover and retailers respond to customer demand, enterprise networks will need to handle more users and more density.
If you need assistance with numbers 1-3 listed above, we can help. Contact us to learn more about Site Surveys, the latest network equipment, and how to upgrade your network to Wi-Fi 6.