Posted by: BT Expedite  |   Comments  No Response

We’ve been supplying networks to retailers since 2004 and now connect over 2.600 stores with their HQ. Lee Wakefield, our head of networks, tells me that retailers are increasingly keen to source networks, hosting and in-store applications under a single service agreement. As the Americans say, there is “one throat to choke” and often a better financial deal too.

 

Lee’s had a busy year and has implemented new networks for Youngs Brewery, Graftons, Schuh and Barratts Priceless and others.

 

What’s next? As retailers are increasingly moving to thinner in-store applications, many are looking for extra network resilience by using 3G routers as back-ups. And  there’s Superfast Broadband which BT is piloting in London and Cardiff before rolling out nationally from 2010. This will bring low-cost connections of up to 40 Mb/s to the nations’ high streets which will give savvy retailers the potential to greatly enhance the in-store experience.

 

High definition video-links to remote experts, rapid up-dating of in-store advertising material and the delivery of much more engaging e-learning packages are just a few of the applications that Superfast Broadband will enable.

Posted by: BT Expedite  |   Comments  No Response

Retailers are increasingly looking for BT Expedite to manage and maintain all their in-store technology and, in particular, for us to be responsible for ensuring that the tills are working at maximum availability. 

 

One of the preferred partners we use is Barron McCann which has a team of engineers that fixes faults at retailers up and down the country. Dave Maltby, their new sales director, was in the office last week and told me that Barron now maintains over 10.000 points of sale on our behalf. The ten thousandth is a Wincor till at a WH Smith store in Bluewater.

 

Of more general interest (unless you want to buy a newspaper near the M25) is Barron’s take on the where the in-store technology market is going. According to Dave, self-checkout is finally gaining real traction and not only with the grocers; Wilkinson’s, B&Q and Wickes are among the non-food retailers taking the concept seriously.

 

This is good news for the engineers - self checkouts go wrong more often - and will give plenty of food for thought to applications providers such as ourselves. There’s been plenty of innovation in user interfaces for store staff over the years - touch screens, icons, hot keys and so on - but, if self checkout takes off, we may need a re-think.  In grocery a self-checkout needs to be quick and highly transactional in nature but I suspect that other sectors, particularly heavily branded ones, a customer facing point of sale system may need to look more like a website.

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