What Happens in Retail When the Network Goes Down?

December 17, 2019

Retail companies need a reliable internet connection to operate efficiently. If the network goes down, it is likely retailers will struggle to process sales, as most point-of-sale systems rely on an internet connection these days. But it’s not just point-of-sale systems that go down—security systems, databases, digital signage and more can all be affected by retail network outages in Montana.

Even though today’s networks and technology are far more reliable than ever before, the vast majority of retailers say they still experience unexpected outages at least once a year. Of that group of retailers, a healthy majority say they lost sales during network downtime. Employee productivity, general business operations and customer loyalty can also suffer as a result of network outages.

Studies indicate it takes an average of four hours to get back in service after an outage is experienced, leaving retailers with a difficult decision: do they close or stay open for business? The majority of retailers close within two hours, and less than 25 percent say they’d stay open the entire day for assistance.

Network downtime can have negative long-term impacts

With all this in mind, it is crucial to either have a dedicated IT employee on staff or work with an outsourced IT management company that can immediately provide assistance whenever you experience network difficulties. This is a much better option than waiting for an internet provider to attempt to solve the issue, as the health of your company can be at stake in these situations. Having an IT management team available can help you avoid some of the most negative long-term impacts of these outages.

For example, retail network outages in Montana can hamper the customer experience. One in three retailers report they experience damage to their brand as a result of outages. This makes sense, as from the customer’s perspective, a company that seems like it can’t stay online to complete a sale is probably not worth returning to. It makes the retailer appear unreliable and cheap. While loyal customers will probably return, you’ll have a hard time winning back the loyalty of someone who’s shopping with you for the very first time.

Consider also how quickly word spreads about dissatisfaction now that we live in the age of social media and instant online reviews. If you are having difficulties staying online, you can rest assured that the word will spread very fast, which can do some major damage to your reputation.

Many retailers do not have backup solutions in place in the event that their primary source goes down, which means these retailers do not understand just how serious the effects of downtime can be on their company. This is another reason to make sure you have IT staff (hired or outsourced) available to you—so they can prepare you for potential outages as well as address outages when they occur.

For more information about retail network outages in Montana and their potential effects on your company, contact Tech Service Company today. We’d be glad to answer any questions you have!

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