EAST is a women's fashion brand that brings vibrant prints and natural fabrics with an ethnic touch to the British high street. With a head office in London, EAST has 105 retail outlets across the UK. Richard Muir, the IT Infrastructure Administrator at EAST, handles everything IT-infrastructure related across all of these stores, including internal and external networks as well as peripheral devices.
EAST wanted to deploy iPads to sales associates across all of its stores, both to facilitate internal communication between stores as well as to provide a means for showcasing pieces not available in the store's current inventory. However, EAST had no WiFi in its stores.
"We needed a secure option with high performance," Muir said. In addition, EAST wanted centralized network management across all locations. After learning about Meraki from its technology partner Vodat, EAST quickly recognized the advantages of a cloud-managed network. "If we didn't have Meraki, we would need a controller at every store, and there would be no centralized control from headquarters. Using Meraki, we can control each AP from the cloud."
EAST deployed 70 Meraki access points (APs) across its stores. The solution is PCI Compliant, and each AP includes built-in enterprise-class features like a stateful policy firewall, 802.1X/RADIUS support, Network Access Control (NAC), and Wireless Intrusion Detection and Prevention (WIDS/WIPS), right out of the box.
Because of Meraki's unique cloud architecture, Muir can see the APs' locations, performance, and usage on his web-based Meraki dashboard. "The dashboard is a great tool for monitoring our wireless devices as well as detecting rogue devices in the area," Muir said. "We can also see interference and easily change channel configurations, which is useful to us for ensuring reliable performance."
The wireless network supports laptops, iPhones and iPads for Regional Business Managers, increasing convenience and communication. Meanwhile, the in-store iPads replace printed catalogs, save sales associates time in finding information, and increase engagement with customers, explained Muir. "The iPads are a great communication tool. Associates can share files between stores, access the company blog, and share new products with customers. The stores love having them."
Muir uses the Meraki dashboard to check iPad usage. "I want to see lots of traffic," he said. "If a store is transferring a lot of data, it's a good week for them, and it means they're using the iPads."
Overall, Muir praised the Meraki solution. "The results have been brilliant," he said. "We've got powerful signal strength, well-made devices, and an easy-to-use dashboard with a lot of functionality."
The Unique Needs of Retail
In large department stores or the corner market, all retailers face increasing loss from shoppers and staff alike. BTI understands the unique needs of this market and provides megapixel technology to specifically meet those needs.
Retail Market Statistics
- National Retail Security (for the US market) report – Shrinkage up to 1.51%
- $36.3 Billion annual loss to retailers (1.51% x $2.4 Trillion USA)
- Video security is considered an effective and affordable solution for large retailers
- The 'addressable' shrink is closer to 1.2% (as 20% of total shrink is reported to come from administrative and vendor fraud issues).
- Employee theft and shoplifting remain the big two drivers of shrink with 42.7% of shrink coming from employee theft and 35.6% from shoplifting.
- Retailers use a wide variety of security systems - video surveillance is the second most commonly used solution next to burglar alarms (with 90.5% using digital video recording and 92.4% reporting the use of burglar alarms).
- Retailers are today most interested in video surveillance – remote video surveillance, live CCTV, digital recording and POS/CCTV integration.
- LP budgets were only .34% of retailer's annual sales in 2007. Compare this to early in the decade when budgets were over .5% of annual sales. Of that budget, 30% is used for capital equipment such as security systems.
- With LP budgets decreasing, retailers are looking for more cost effective solutions (megapixel provides this)
Applications and Solutions – Benefits of Video Management For Retail
- New camera and management technology provides overall security with enough detail to identify customers, staff, and vehicle license plates
- Systems with analytics that capture transactional details linked to your point of sale system preventing losses and improving store sales and staff productivity
- With enough instantly retrievable data, you can resolve staff and customer disputes quickly and accurately.
- The overall security and loss prevention burden can be reduced by covering more area with greater detail and less cameras.
- Increased detail improves forensics and reduces time spent by security professionals and police in post event investigations