10 Ways to Strengthen Your Retail Tech During the Coronavirus Outbreak

    Strengthen Retail Tech During the Coronavirus Outbreak

    There is no question that we are living in unprecedented times. It feels like the whole world is shutting down. The levels of anxiety, uncertainty, and helplessness continue to grow. Businesses are having to make difficult decisions that significantly impact not only their bottom line, but their employee’s ability to provide for their family.

    While some businesses are overwhelmed with the new state of the world, many others are watching their beloved company dwindle with the lack of customers. Especially retailers. The current directives limit the size of gatherings and encourage everyone to practice social distancing. It won’t be long before malls are temporarily closed down.

    We at Kinettix strongly believe this will pass and are standing by to support our staff and clients. And as bleak and distressful as the current situation is, there are some unique opportunities that can be leveraged. As the old saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. With minimized or even eliminated foot traffic in the store, here are some questions to ask:

    • Are there things we can do that we normally might not be able to do efficiently?
    • Are there technology initiatives we have been putting off because we don’t have the store resources to provide support?
    • How can we use our “idle” resources to be productive and continue to earn money to take care of our family?
    • Is there infrastructure needed to support other product and service delivery to your customers (BOPIS, Delivery Picks Up, long drive-thru lines, etc.)?

    While it may not be possible to complete full-fledged technology equipment deployments or upgrades if you've had to limit the amount of employees that can be on site, there are a number of technology tasks that staff could complete during this time. Here are 10 ideas for infrastructure work that could be completed.

    1. Site Surveys

    There are always initiatives coming up that require retailers to conduct some form of site survey. It wouldn’t take a significant amount of effort to build a site survey to cover all of these initiatives, plus some. Once developed, a Technician can be sent to the store to complete the survey and not have to worry about impeding traffic or using a ladder to reach devices. This approach could save money by combining multiple projects into one.

    2. Health Check

    It’s not hard to imagine that most retailers struggle with preventative maintenance and cleaning of their equipment in stores. This is a great time to baseline the health of your in-store equipment, perform preventative maintenance, and complete general cleaning. Identify systems that may need further repair or are experiencing physical issues that need to be addressed.

    3. Asset Management

    You implemented a new asset management system months ago, but you have not been able to confirm that the data is correct in the new system. Or perhaps you want to implement an asset management system rather than keeping in a spreadsheet, but you have not been able to collect the information from your stores. Now is the perfect time to collect or validate all the asset information and update or set up the appropriate systems.

    4. Stale Help Desk Tickets

    With every retail help desk, there are those pesky tickets that seem like they have been open forever, but since the system is not completely down, it hasn’t been addressed. A store server has a bad secondary power supply. It needs to be swapped out but requires a potential outage. The system is not completely down…. yet. Here is the opportunity you’ve been looking for. Close out all your old tickets so once the store is open again you have confidence in not only your primary systems, but your secondary systems as well.

    5. Optimize Equipment Placement

    The back office and storage space in a store can often times feel more important than the retail floor because there is so little of it. Would it help to rearrange your infrastructure equipment to be more efficient? Have you needed to install a shelf on which to place equipment so you can get devices off the manager’s desk? Need to relocate a rack closer to power to eliminate a trip hazard? Implementing efficiency with limited space will also help with future technology initiatives.

    6. Win10 Upgrades

    Everyone has been challenged with migrating to Windows 10, but no more than retailers. It’s finally time to make that happen and avoid the loss of support. You can also rollout training at the same time since the store personnel will have more time to understand the new features and functionality.

    7. System Patching

    There always seems to be an endless list of system patching that needs to be implemented. Whether it’s operating system, security, or software patching, leveraging this down time would allow you the ability to make sure all systems are at the proper patch level. While it usually doesn’t require on-site resources, there are times that the system may need to be shutdown and restarted and there is no mechanism to do this function remotely.

    8. Software Upgrades & Training

    Long awaited software upgrades can also be implemented effectively during this time. Most major upgrades require additional training for the store personnel. Is there overdue training for store personnel? Now is the time to take big swings with training whether it’s for stores systems, merchandising, or HR policies.

    9. Cabling Work

    Over time, cabling can become messy and difficult to manage. Additionally, there may be some cabling that needs to be replaced or repaired. Dispatching a Technician to resolve these issues or conduct a cabling clean up exercise will make you more efficient and aid in troubleshooting in the future. 

    10. Sales Floor Equipment

    It seems there is never a good time to clean camera enclosures and video displays on the sales floor. Usually a ladder or lift is required, and these cannot be placed on the floor during business hours. Additionally, these devices are sensitive and must be cleaned in an appropriate manner. Cleaning these devices and enclosures correctly will not only extend the life of these assets but also help them run efficiently.

    While these are definitely troubling and flat out scary times, if we all look for the positive aspects of this situation, it will keep us productive and focused. We want to ensure you that Kinettix is still up and running and here to serve our customers. In our delivery model, we utilize local Technicians so the impact from travel restrictions is not as impactful. Additionally, with our approach of using contingency labor, if a Technician is impacted by the Coronavirus, we can immediately backfill that Technician from our Global Alliance. We are here to help you with all your initiatives no matter where or when you need us.


    Lisa Cook

    Written by: Lisa Cook

    With more than 30 years in the technology field, Lisa has deep experience overseeing the design, analysis, implementation, deployment and support of varying sizes and complexities of technology initiatives across a broad range of industries. Her experience has allowed her to provide all aspects of technology deployment support to national and global clients such as Walgreens, Ulta Beauty, Office Max, Walmart, Blockbuster, American Eagle, Chrysler, Simon Property Group, and CBL & Associates. As the founder of OPL Technologies, Lisa is an integral part of the Kinettix Team due to her expertise in designing and managing complex multi-site technology deployments. She is the author of the recently released book “Designing Retail Success: A Blueprint for Designing Retail Technology Deployments.”





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