Endpoint Management in Retail: Why it’s a Game Changer
To sell goods and services to consumers, the more successful businesses use two fronts instead of one. Brick-and-mortar shops serve local customers, while online storefronts serve the rest of the world. To track every transaction, companies need help from modern digital technologies, including endpoint management. This ensures that the devices that help complete a transaction have the necessary functions and safeguards.
The Many Challenges of Retail Operations
Retail basically means selling goods and services to an end user. But in a modern industry that’s worth almost $30 trillion, it isn’t that simple.
- Supply chain systems track the flow of goods from the manufacturer to the end user.
- Inventory and warehouse management ensures products are available at the stores that sell them.
- Sales and marketing teams have additional systems that promote products and oversee the ordering and payment processes.
Across the retail system, smart devices track stocks, manage orders, record sales transactions, and tally how much was sold. These devices are critical for all businesses, regardless of their size. Otherwise, you risk losing orders and driving customers away to your competition.
Understanding the Power of Endpoint Management
Endpoint management is a system that lets retailers continually access their sales, marketing and supply chain data. It authorizes which devices can access information and ensures that connected devices are well-managed, well-maintained, and well-secured from potential outside threats. Endpoint management also provides the tools that devices need to perform optimally.
This system applies to both physical shops and digital stores. Online sales require multiple devices to connect to one another to exchange information. For instance, virtual stores must connect to the company’s online payment systems as well as the company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) database. Retailers with physical stores also need a similar server system that exchanges information between sales, warehousing, finance, and customer service teams.
Reliable endpoint management makes all this a breeze. Let’s look at some examples:
- Plant engineers can check their manufacturing facility’s production efficiency through monitors installed on every floor.
- Logistics managers can use handheld scanners and tablets to locate specific items in large warehouses.
- Sales teams can see product details such as price and available stock on their phones and laptops.
- Finance teams and C-suite executives can get a complete look at whether the company had a profitable year.
Throughout the entire process, smart devices receive and transmit information stored in the company’s cloud systems. So, finance connects its data with the warehouse, which in turn consolidates with sales. This allows sales reps to simply refer to their phones to know exactly how many products are in stock, how much they cost, and what promotions and discounts are applicable.
Of course, each device also carries the risk of getting compromised by external threats. When outside forces gain access to a retailer’s servers, you could see data theft, ransomware or malware as a result.
The Benefits of Endpoint Management in Retail
Using the right endpoint management platform gives retailers a host of benefits that bring improvements across all fronts.
Improved Work and User Experience
A reliable endpoint management system means that all connected devices receive the support they need to get the job done. This includes remote updates to the firmware, operating system (OS), or specific applications.
Remote update capabilities also mean administrators can deliver quick fixes, patches or rollbacks to applicable software. When workers use devices with updated software, they tend to experience fewer problems.
When users are confident in their endpoint management, they can go about their work without worrying about data leaks or unsecured connections. The choice of cloud-based connections often means users will enjoy industrial-strength end-to-end encryption and reduced latency.
In addition, proper endpoint management also means that data handling and storage processes conform to standards set by applicable and local data privacy laws.
Device-Agnostic and BYOD Policies
The ideal endpoint management platform is a device-agnostic system that runs the entire show. After all, many workers are confident in the abilities of their personal smart devices and would rather use them instead of an office-issued gadget.
Administrators can allow the inclusion of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) units to the network as long as users observe proper protocols. Being device-agnostic, the system will work with any manufacturer or OS.
Finding the Right Endpoint Management Software
Getting the right endpoint management software is especially important if your employees will be using mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Among the many factors to consider in terms of mobile device management, cloud-based access is at the forefront.
Admins would rather have tools and software updates available on the cloud for immediate download. Running the system with a proven provider like Amazon Web Services (AWS) can also help ensure connections are both stable and secure.
Endpoint management for mobile devices should also include the ability to assign user access levels based on real-world responsibilities. Therefore, sales agents and warehouse workers can have access to ERP data like product inventory, but only on certain datasets. At the same time, the IT team will monitor unauthorized access attempts.
Finally, endpoint management should include robust security features. The ability to remotely shut down or disable devices that report unusual activities is crucial. Through geolocation and geofencing, you can locate missing or stolen devices and render them useless. And if there’s a danger of a data breach, admins should be able to remotely wipe all data from the compromised device.
Endpoint Management: A Win-Win Solution
Retail companies operating both online and physical stores should take the necessary steps to secure their network from unauthorized users and protect data from unwelcome access. Acquiring a reliable and robust endpoint management solution is the answer.
Workers stand to benefit from an easier and more enjoyable user experience. Similarly, admins will have better control over their management, maintenance and security objectives. And administrative officers and C-suite executives get better and more private access to collected data. This lets them use insights to make timely decisions that can affect future plans. It’s a win-win scenario for everybody involved.
Nadav Avni is the chief marketing officer of Radix Technologies, a provider of cutting-edge device management solutions.