In part I, I shared that the deployment process is all about effective planning and thinking through the details beforehand. Here are practical considerations for connectivity, power, shipping/receiving, field services support, help desk and material removal during a kiosk deployment.
What’s your overall plan for connectivity? Do your units need to be remotely connected? Will you work with an existing network? If so, gain the correct permissions and proxies and verify the connection works prior to going out into the field.
Gaining access to existing “hostile” store networks can be a fruitless endeavor, so I recommend you have viable alternatives. We’ve had great success with the use of a high gain antenna and a cell phone modem which virtually eliminates your reliance on in-store systems. Remember, test everything!
Power is essential for kiosk units, but 120 volt receptacles can be elusive in retail and big box stores. Contact your install locations beforehand and take a site survey to make sure you’ll have access to the power you need. Bring plenty of extension cords and ensure the power is clean (e.g. no voltage fluctuations from large pieces of equipment turning on and off on the same circuit).
Who is going to receive the units? Use caution when shipping units to a big-box retailer, we’ve found that display units can get lost in the back room or simply disappear. Consider shipping the units to local or regional representatives rather than directly to the store.
Field Services Support & Help Desk
Many stores won’t let you install while they are open for business, so choose installation and support staff that will be willing to work during off-hours. Also, plan for extra help desk staff for the duration of the deployment as issues may arise at any point.
Removal of Materials
Often, pre-existing materials need to be removed to make room for your unit. Where do these go? Whose responsibility are they?
Think It Through
Deployment of a digital merchandising project is a complex effort with many moving parts that need to be seamlessly coordinated. Every part of the process should be thought through, tested and documented prior to “feet hitting the street.”