Digital transformation and retail: Are you benefitting from the best solutions?

The past few months have caused a commotion in retail sales in previously unimagined ways. Some businesses have experienced negative repercussions from the pandemic, while others have been able to benefit from the new reality to drive sales. In fact, retail business has experienced slight growth in 2020 in Québec compared to 2019, according to Statistics Canada. Increased interest in buying local and in frequenting local businesses, as well as in furnishings, electronics, and certain leisure activities partly explains this phenomenon.

One certainty is that businesses who already made the inevitable transition to digital experienced a clear advantage. On the other hand, companies without transactional websites had somewhat of an uphill climb ahead of them.

In this regard, 78% of adults in Québec personally made one or several purchases on the web in 2020, an increase of 15 percentage points since 2019 as recorded by the NETendances 2020 study, conducted by Académie de la transformation numérique (ATN) in collaboration with BIP Recherche.

The same study shows that retailers should take note that all age groups are responding to the appeal of online shopping. Adults 35-44 are the biggest consumers (88% shop online), but those in the 65-74 age group were also very active participants, rising from 36% to 68%, a huge 32% increase!

While some consumers and retailers still display some reluctance regarding online shopping, recent months have definitely shown the relevance and efficiency of fluid, easy, and fast transactional experiences.

Digital transformation: Five minutes to midnight

The closure of most brick-and-mortar stores is what launched and later consolidated new consumption habits and, therefore, new purchasing reflexes.

Is this bad news for physical stores? Not at all! Is it too late to start transitioning? Let’s just say you still have five minutes before the clock strikes midnight.

25% of online consumers make their purchases from Québec retailers

Distribution of total online purchases (2020)
  • Amazon: (41%)
  • Québec retailers: (25%)
  • Other Canadian retailers: (18%)
  • Other foreign retailers: (16%) Source: ATN

To adapt to this reality, retailers must establish a suitable combination of tools and approaches—an omnichannel strategy that multiplies opportunities to improve sales both in-store and online.

Here are three issues that many companies and businesses need to resolve.

Issue 1

Regain your in-store customers

While this situation isn’t recent, the pandemic has led to a reduction in the frequentation of stores in person.

With the advent of e-commerce and the significant market share held by the web giants, consumers see fewer advantages to visiting a physical store. This means it’s imperative that you seek them out where they are: in front of their computer, tablet, or mobile screens.

To reach future customers at home and pique their interest, you need to offer them the option of making their purchase through your website. There is, however, a major obstacle to overcome: the security of the transaction, for you as well as for your customers.

Cyber security: A crucial investment for gaining trust

Being visible on the web means you’re also visible to potential attackers. To ward them off and ensure your customers’ security and peace of mind, it’s essential to adopt reliable cyber security technology.

Are you protected against DDoS attacks?

A distributed denial of service (DdoS) attack is a malicious activity that affects the resources or bandwidth of the targeted system, such as your web servers or network infrastructure. These cyber threats can cause your network to slow down considerably and harm your business activities.

Isn’t this a rare event?

Judge for yourself: There were an estimated 17 million distributed denial of service attacks in 2020!

As you can see, above and beyond ransomware and identity theft, companies with an online storefront are regularly targeted by such attacks. Even worse, companies can purchase such attacks to slow down their competitors’ sites and thereby gain a business advantage!

How to protect yourself

In addition to transactional sites, these attacks can also target other systems and harm a company’s operations. Videotron Business offers a DDoS protection solution that detects these attacks and blocks or redirects illegitimate traffic. This allows your actual customers and users to access your systems without restriction.

The return on investment for such protection is convincing! Business continuity, optimal management of legitimate traffic, and high-quality customer experience are among the potential benefits.

The Videotron Business and fibrenoire teams work together to help organizations deploy the best strategies to protect against this type of attack.

The DDoS protection solution handles the surveillance and control of your inbound traffic completely autonomously. If a suspicious increase in traffic or abnormal traffic is detected, the DDoS smart service will unleash multilayer mitigation efforts (depending on what type of protection package is purchased).

Get more information on DDoS attacks and on solutions to protect yourself from them

Issue 2

Counter increased rent payments for your business

For many, the financial health of their business relies on the store-in-a-store concept, where one part of a business is reserved for use by another company, which often offers complementary services or products, thereby allowing both firms to share, and therefore reduce, the amount of rent to be paid.

Consider the cafés, florists, shoe repair services, or delivery services set up in premises occupied by other companies. The idea is as advantageous for the company who sublets the space as it is for the subletter. Once an agreement is established, the financial health of each company tends to improve.

Fixed Wireless Access: The ideal sharing solution

Having two companies under the same roof doesn’t mean you need to share everything! In fact, it’s sometimes better to work in isolation in order to create a distinct offering and ensure consistent quality of service.

To this end, sharing the same Internet connection isn’t recommended if you want to avoid potential issues. The strategy of having Fixed Wireless Access enables you to take advantage of a technology that lets you avoid having to install cabling while benefitting from equivalent or greater speeds thanks to the power of the 5G network.

Because time is money

The formidable capacity of 5G will accelerate all of your transactional operations. By the end of a week, or a month, or a year, the total time saved will add up to the financial health of your business!

Fewer risks in case of an outage

What’s more, installing this system will significantly reduce the risks and effects of a power outage, which means losing your Internet connection. Having access to the LTE/5G network makes you less dependent on a wired connection, making you more autonomous and allowing you to continue operating even during a power outage.

Living with wireless

The Videotron Business team offers customers this autonomous mobile technology to quickly activate simple, high-performance solutions without having to install cabling.

Would you like to host another business within your company or even sublet a space available in your establishment? You can facilitate the installation of your operations and ensure their quality with Fixed Wireless Access.

See how quickly you can take advantage of wireless Internet for your business

Issue 3

Counter the labour shortage with automation

The labour shortage being experienced across every sector is also affecting retail. The good news is there are a number of solutions that can remedy the situation.

Saving time

Back in 2017, Amazon Go opened the first local fully automated store. Using sensors and algorithms, Amazon could track items removed from shelves and added to customers’ carts, which would then be debited from their credit cards, contact-free, upon leaving the store. Goodbye to losing time while waiting in line at the cash!

Closer to home, Couche-Tard launched its first connected corner store in January of 2021 in Montréal.

Self-serve automated checkouts, where you scan your own items, are more accessible and are being increasingly deployed to allow customers to save time and allow businesses to save money. This is just a first step towards automation, a powerful solution in the context of a labour shortage.

Fibre optics and the Internet of Things: The future is now!

To activate this type of customer experience, innovative companies are investing now in the technology of the future.

Consider first fibre optics and the Internet of Things, two technologies that are essential to businesses’ success. On the one hand, a foolproof connection avoids expensive mistakes; on the other hand, improved connectivity enables the tracking of inventory and the installation of self-serve checkout, in addition to facilitating energy management and cost.

Improve your customer experience with fibre optics and the Internet of Things

Hybrid Fibre: Connect your points of sale and your operations

The Videotron Business team allows you to increase your productivity through a network that’s both reliable and economical thanks to the Hybrid Fibre solution.

Your company will benefit from the performance, reliability, and scope of a network combining coaxial and fibre optic cables. These allow you to connect your various locations with a cable modem, in a secure way, without going over the Internet. You can also install an LTE router for an enhanced wireless experience.

Take advantage of a high-performance Internet connection combining coaxial and fibre optic cables

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