“If there’s one reason we have done better than of our peers in the Internet space over the last six years, it is because we have focused like a laser on customer experience, and that really does matter, I think, in any business. It certainly matters online, where word of mouth is so very, very powerful.” Jeff Bezos
In today’s business climate, any sector that has doubled revenues in the past five years is considered a wonderful outlier to the economic norm – particularly in an industry as big as fashion retailing. How are they doing it? By changing the business model and selling more on-line. In fact, according to the Telegraph, over one third of all consumers have purchased clothing over the Internet in the past year, a 26% increase over the previous one.
So how can savvy retailers build on this momentum and do it again? By taking the on-line experience to the next level. Here’s one likely future of shopping experience solution. And you can see it only at Cisco Live! July 10-14 in Las Vegas:
Imagine being able to shop virtually from anywhere much more quickly and efficiently. No more crowded, clunky dressing rooms, or trawling racks of jumbled clothes in a sprawling megastore. No more changing ten times to find the perfect color combination. Simply scroll through the menu to see an unlimited amount of inventory in one place, and see how it looks on you virtually using the latest augmented reality and network technology.
Just as it did in the brick and mortar to e-tailing market transition, the network plays a key role in taking the changing room to the next level, particularly when scaling the experience to multiple remote sites. Here are just a few examples:
1) Video – Seeing how garments fit in real time while you’re moving is only possible in a video-optimized network with capabilities such as media monitoring, bandwidth optimization, and auto-configuration included in Medianet. Processing video locally on the router can also significantly reduce bandwidth requirements, and managing video with Cisco Prime Collaboration Manager makes real-time monitoring much easier.
2) Cloud/Virtualization – Reducing the cost and complexity of supporting multiple technologies such as augmented reality and point-of-sale applications by consolidating them into virtualized servers is key. While UCS and VMware can run many applications in the cloud, services that also need to be virtualized locally for better performance and resilience can be integrated directly into the router with UCS Express. This integrated approach can also reduce operational costs by 50% or more. Managing these solutions with granular traffic analysis and an integrated set of monitoring tools such as Cisco Prime NAM also makes I.T. much more efficient.
3) Security – To monetize this experience, retailers need to deliver purchasing power to customers anywhere and meet PCI DSS 2.0 requirements on mobile devices, as well as intelligently apply the right access and control policies to users, devices and applications with a context-aware security architecture such as SecureX. Because this experience can be shared in social media (imagine collecting real-time inputs from friends and family on a wedding dress or tux before you walk down the aisle), cloud based security controls such as ScanSafe also helps protect against malware and other attacks.
While this shopping experience may seem very futuristic to some, there are several leading retailers working with Cisco to begin bringing these solutions to market within this calendar year. Why Cisco? Because a “good enough network” won’t cut it when it comes to delivering compelling new customer experiences and business models for all the reasons listed above, and many more.
Stay tuned for more details on the future of shopping demonstrations at Cisco Live! over the next few weeks as we share insights from retail industry leaders, the Cisco Retail team, Cisco geeks, and most importantly, customers who are experiencing this breakthrough technology for the first time.
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