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Retail Analytics for an Omnichannel World

Hello, there! My name is Kathryn Howe, and I’m a senior advisor in Cisco’s Retail Industry Practice. I am joining this blog to write regularly on my favorite topic and one of today’s hottest retail trends: Shopper behavior analytics and how they can support omnichannel selling.

Your store is probably among those that are collecting and analyzing masses of data about customers, products, and store operations to earn additional revenue and savings. The challenge of this big data, of course, is that metrics don’t mean much unless the store has access to the right data to meet your specific business needs. But when you do, such metrics become a powerful tool to create efficiencies and support your omnichannel strategies.

Most of the retailers I meet are extremely enthusiastic about the idea of utilizing shopper analytics technologies to generate deeper insights they can use to better manage their businesses -- but aren’t too sure of how to do it. However, the truth is that the use cases for analytics in the store are almost infinite. As just a few examples, you can:

Predict resource requirements

Retailers can use analytics tools to measure traffic, wait times, and queue lengths, proactively anticipating resource demands across the store. For example, front-end staffing demand in grocery can be anticipated using a combination of real-time traffic counting, trip time data, and data on staff on hand. Resources are thus dynamically allocated based on real-time information, improving productivity of labor hours and improving customer satisfaction.

Drive traffic to the store

Through presence and location-based mobility analytics, retailers pinpoint the location of opt-in shoppers when they are close to a store location. With personalized reminders or discount offers sent directly to their smartphones, consumers are more motivated to visit the store if they are nearby.

Counteract showrooming

Retailers can leverage customer showrooming by providing real-time discounts and price matching on the shopper’s mobile device based on their location in the store. For example, analytics from mobile or video may detect high wait times in a department or category. In response, the store can alert staff to offer immediate assistance, or send a personalized offer to the shopper’s mobile device. This turns showrooming from a threat into a promotional opportunity, improves the shopper’s opinion of the store, and builds a strong long-term relationship.

I recently authored a white paper that addresses these and many other use cases, which you can find here. For a dynamic conversation on these and other analytics topics, please join us on June 25 for a free hour-long webcast on real-world analytics. It’s being hosted by Cisco and a group of our partners to discuss how to optimize operations and workforce efficiency, increase marketing effectiveness, and strategize for Analytics 3.0. See you there!

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CMX Analytics at Cisco Live! San Francisco 2014

Cisco Live! San Francisco was the biggest Cisco Live! yet—25,000 attendees. Read Chris’s blog for more on the network at Cisco Live! You also heard about the Mobility Services APIs enabling location-based services and location-enabled application development in Neha’s blog yesterday. The event also marked a milestone for our CMX team: successful location tracking of all 30,000 devices in the conference center with a single pair of MSEs (Mobility Services Engine) running on 7.6MR2 code to generate analytics and reports based on device location!

Let’s take a closer look at location analytics generated at Cisco Live! If you haven’t seen CMX Analytics before, let me tell you: it’s powerful. There are three pieces of CMX Analytics: Dashboard, Analytics and Reports, all generated by the location data from the MSE. Here are a few key views from the show floor:

1.      Dashboard: The CMX Dashboard features a number of customizable widgets that visualize location data such as dwell time and device count by zone or by time.

Hourly Visitors for South Halls on Tuesday May 20

Tuesday marked a steady flow through the day with the World of Solutions and breakout sessions all day. You see that spike at 5pm? That’s when the beverages and refreshments came out—and then you see people tapering off round 7pm to head out for dinner.

clusmse1 Read More »

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Getting Started with Cisco CMX 7.6 Analytics

First we rolled out the MSE tech blog series to give our customers an in depth look at the various features of the location-based technology behind Cisco’s Mobility Services Engine (MSE) and Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution. Now, we’re kicking off a CMX Techtorial video series to provide a visual and helpful walkthrough of how to maneuver and get started with CMX and location-based services.

First up, we have the charismatic Darryl Sladden, Technical Marketing Manager for CMX, taking us through CMX 7.6 Analytics. In this quick video, Darryl will cover:

  • What is CMX 7.6 Analytics?
  • What is the analytics dashboard?
  • How do I visualize dwell time, heat maps, device density?
  • What kinds of reports can you get with CMX 7.6 Analytics?

Read More »

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Save Big Money with Big Data

Data in data warehouses doubles every 2.5 years. For users, this means more data to analyze, leading to better business outcomes. That’s the good news. The bad news is that this extra storage capacity and computing power comes at a cost. A high cost it turns out.

So what is an enterprise to do?

Keep writing bigger and bigger checks to the data warehouse vendor? At least the business can take advantage of the extra data?

Or should they move some of the lesser-used data to tape? That will save money. But it will also limit business access to this now “off-line” data which may mean missed business opportunities.

What if there was a third option that would preserve the on-line access for the business analysts and control these escalating costs for IT?

Cisco’s new Big Data Warehouse Expansion solution announced this week at Cisco Live provides this third option.

Log in here to access the presentations at Cisco Live on Cisco’s new Big Data Warehouse Expansion.

Cisco Big Data Warehouse Expansion is a new offering that combines hardware, software and services to help customers control the costs of their ever-expanding data warehouses by offloading infrequently used data to low-cost big data stores. Analytics are enriched as more data is retained and all data remains accessible.

Components in the solution include:

  • Cisco UCS optimized for big data stores.
  • Cisco Data Virtualization for federating multiple data sources.
  • Appfluent VisibilityTM to deliver analytics on business activity and data usage across Teradata, Oracle / Exadata, IBM DB2, IBM Netezza, IBM® PureData™ for Analytics and Hadoop.
  • Cisco Services methodology for assessing, migrating, virtualizing and operating a logically expanded warehouse.

If you are looking for a solution to your rising enterprise data warehouse costs, look no further than Cisco.

Follow us @CiscoDataVirt to stay up to date on the latest news!

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Explosive Growth in Mobility and Location-based Marketing

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It’s exciting to watch the explosive growth of mobile and hyper local based services. Mobile location based services and marketing is rapidly becoming BIG business, with an estimated $4.5B of mobile advertising being location based (rising to over $10B by 2017).

Let’s look at some of the fundamental factors, drivers and numbers behind this growth to put it into context. Read More »

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