Wireless Networks in Retail and Hospitality

In the retail and hospitality industry, the quality of customer service provided can make or break a business. Competitive establishments are always looking for ways to provide efficient ways to nurture brand loyalty while improving profit margins. Setting up a wireless infrastructure in your retail environment can set your business up to succeed by streamlining operations and improving customer loyalty with a variety of secure, wireless capabilities.

A wireless infrastructure opens up a variety of opportunities to offer improved customer convenience through streamlining retail operations. A wireless local area network lets workers go mobile, allowing them to use wireless devices to perform mobile point of sale services, perfect for table side transactions in restaurants or line busting in retail businesses. A WLAN also allows workers to efficiently keep track of inventory by linking handheld devices, which can be used to quickly record and verify inventory, to host systems thereby ensuring inventory is closely monitored. With a WLAN in place, an RFID location tracking system can be easily implemented, allowing for items to be automatically tracked as they pass through checkpoints. Whether taking inventory with wireless handheld devices or with RFID technology, a WLAN provides a more efficient way to maintain proper inventory levels and prevent items from going out of stock to ensure the customer will be provided with what they came to get. Additionally, secure voice communication systems can be set up on the wireless network without incurring additional costs, allowing workers to easily communicate with each other and eliminating, or significantly reducing, the need to page employees over an intercom, which can annoy customers.

Many retail establishments even use a wireless network to provide customers and guests with free or paid for wireless services. For example, many businesses choose to offer customer and guest Wi-Fi. In order to do so without compromising business operations, a wireless network can be designed with several different access levels and is capable of separating business traffic from customer traffic to ensure business operations are not slowed down. The entire network can be managed and monitored by administrators at a central location, who can add or remove services to and track usage of the entire network. A login portal can be set up for guest Wi-Fi use to boost brand loyalty without slowing down business operations, a feature employed by many book stores, cafes, and other food service establishments. A WLAN also means self-serve devices can be set up anywhere within the network’s reach for customers to use, allowing price verification stations as well as other self-help kiosks to be installed.

There are countless reasons to implement a wireless infrastructure, but when it comes down to moving business operations onto a wireless network, the big question is: is it secure? Believe it or not, a properly designed wireless infrastructure can be even more secure than its wired counterpart. A well-designed, centralized network management system with authentication, encryption, authorization, and wireless intrusion protection can ensure that business operations remain secure, regardless of the number of access points in the network. Wireless networks have come a long way and while older wireless equipment, which was not designed with security in mind, used WEP encryption, which can easily be broken into within minutes using modern methods. Today, more secure encryption, such as WPA and WPA-2, allow workers to confidently carry out mobile point of sale operations knowing customer information is not at risk of being stolen. These modern security features meet Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and Cardholder Information Security Program (CISP) requirements and offer a variety of additional security features to keep customer information safe.

Implementing and maintaining a wireless network doesn’t have to be difficult; alongside a team of professionals, your business can work to design and deploy the system ideal for you. With a centralized system in place, you will be provided with a scalable wireless network that does not place more demand on administrators as it grows, allowing new access points to be added at any location without the need to hire and train additional technical staff members. The wireless network can help streamline business operations and improve overall customer experience, ultimately improving your bottom line.

3 Thoughts on “Wireless Networks in Retail and Hospitality

  1. Mitchell H. on December 26, 2014 at 6:37 am said:

    I liked your article and did not realize that a wireless network could be made so secure. It gives me a little more confidence in installing one for public use in our restaurant. I am very worried about people parking next to us and trying to break into our computer systems. But, I agree that we need to offer these kinds of services to our customers, especially because they are asking servers about access. I look forward to working with your company on something we can rely on.

  2. Johanna K. on January 8, 2015 at 11:08 am said:

    Great article, thanks for sharing this on your blog!

  3. Michael A. on February 2, 2015 at 8:52 pm said:

    In the service industry wireless networks and any Wi-Fi services are extremely important to guest satisfaction. Any easy to use and stable wireless network is very important because if there are problems the hotel staff are not prepared to deal with technical issues. So an outsourced management solution for Wi-Fi makes a lot of sense. Also, as you noted in the article the wireless network is also used by staff and we require a higher level of services for their applications. Not much is written specifically for our industry on implementing a wireless network and I just wanted to thank you for this article.

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