The retail industry is facing unprecedented changes. Since Amazon went online in 1995, technology has been blurring the boundaries between virtual and physical retail space. The third annual Cisco study of consumers found that nearly 80 percent of U.S. consumers use the Internet to shop. Armed with their smartphones, customers now walk into a store with much more knowledge and power in the palm of their hands than ever before, enough to keep retail executives up at night.
Nearly one out of three shoppers search on their mobile device before purchasing in store. Customers want to know if items are available in the right size, right color, and right now. These shoppers expect the same prices, products, and offers regardless of the channel being used (e-commerce websites, brick-and-mortar stores, or mobile devices). I’m surprised at how many stores really don’t know what’s in stock. To keep up with today’s savvy shoppers, retailers need to update their inventory systems using signals from their supply chains, online presence, back rooms, and front stores in real time. And all of this is the in the context of shrinking customer spending, rising business costs, and competition.
With these monumental shifts in consumer behavior, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the biggest Internet of Everything (IoE) Value at Stake opportunities reside in extracting customer insights and creating better experiences. For years, retailers have trusted Cisco innovations to help them improve the store experience, increase supply chain efficiencies, and deliver a consistent multi-channel experience to their customers. Just last month, on stage at Cisco Live with John Chambers, I demonstrated Cisco’s location-based services to help retailers improve planogram and measure campaign effectiveness through the movement of customers. But there is much more that the Internet of Everything can do to address the two main goals of retailers: revenue and loyalty.