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Coming to NRF: Lisa Fretwell on Shopping Trends, New Frontiers

Cisco will be featured in two Big Idea sessions at this year’s NRF conference starting tomorrow, and I’m happy to introduce guest blogger Lisa Fretwell, who will be leading one of these two seminars. Lisa is the Managing Director of Retail at Cisco Consulting Services, specializing in the Internet of Everything and analytics, and how these new capabilities can transform and differentiate retail and consumer product businesses:

In today’s digital era, stores are clearly challenged in terms of sales and profitable growth. Every retailer is faced with needing to change and innovate their store to deliver results.

Overall, the majority of stores across all categories are demonstrating flat or declining like for like, exacerbated by price deflation. Cisco’s recently concluded annual survey on shopper behavior of 10,000 shoppers highlights the ongoing shift away from the store to online. Twenty percent of consumers now make more than 50% of their purchases online, and this number is expected to continue to grow.

However, when you dig down into the data, you may be surprised by some of the changes. As just one example, we asked shoppers which categories they had significantly moved from store to online. We learned that 41% of the consumers surveyed have somewhat or significantly increased their online purchases of apparel in the last two years – clothing, shoes, and accessories. Traditionally, these products are the life blood of why shoppers go to a store – to touch, feel, try on.

So is it all doom and gloom for shops? No, not if you’re up for innovation and change. There are still significant reasons for shoppers to visit stores. Our research highlights some key insights that retailers must leverage to drive healthy results and make the store experience hyper-relevant.

Our experience from retail engagements suggests the answer lies in two areas: being able to deliver dynamic experiences, and to improve ways of working. From instant response to customer needs to improved process digitization, we are seeing that retailers are increasingly relying on a combination of sensors, analytics, automation, cloud, and edge computing.

If we apply this model to a $20 billion turnover retailer with 900 stores, Cisco estimates that there is $312 million of incremental benefit to be had: $170 million from digitizing ways of working: staffing optimization, store routine digitization, and colleague collaboration; plus $142 million from improved customer conversion through insight, digital offers and loyalty, service, and cross-channel selling. We believe this approach offers the next much-needed step change in store economics.

To learn more, please join us at NRF on Sunday for Cisco’s Big Idea sessions:

  • The first, at 10:15 am in Room 4 of the Expo Hall, covers more on our annual survey results. It is led by Cisco Vice President Joe Bradley (replacing Anabelle Pinto due to a family emergency).
  • Then, at 2:00 pm in Room 4, Cisco’s Shaun Kirby and I will discuss how retailers are taking advantage of the “Internet of Everything: New Horizons in Retail.”

We look forward to seeing you there!

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Creativity: The Secret Sauce for Successful Consultants

One of the challenges we’re seeing in business today is the need to re-learn the problem solving process. This need is increasing demand for creativity as a critical competency of the consultant of the future – driven by how businesses capture value harnessing the connectivity and intelligence enabled by the Internet of Everything (IoE). Read More »

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How U.S. Banks Can Transform Customer Interactions to Increase Profitability

You order a movie online and additional suggestions pop up, based on a deep knowledge of your likes and dislikes. You plan a vacation and similar suggestions appear, reflecting your financial state, the climate in which you live (and may hope to escape for a time), and past travel history. These convenient, personalized interactions are common today — and even expected.

Yet according to a Cisco survey of 7,200 retail banking consumers in 12 countries, customer expectations for financial services are not being met. Many of the most valued customers — and not just tech-savvy Gen Y ones — feel disconnected from their financial services institutions. They state that their banks do not know them personally, and are providing advice only on the bank’s terms — in the branch, during banking hours, when staff is available,  — if at all. Read More »

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Join Cisco in Chicago at BAI Retail Delivery 2014!

It’s that time of year again! On November 12-14, the Cisco Financial Services team will be attending BAI Retail Delivery 2014. This year, we’ll be showcasing exciting solutions for the Digital Bank — innovations that provide seamless, cross-channel engagement and meet escalating consumer demands while reducing operating costs, and increasing sales within your institution.

Cisco financial services solutions help customers connect with their customers and deliver a personalized banking experience and gain a sustainable competitive advantage in the Internet of Everything age. In partnership with Verizon, NCR and Intel, Cisco will showcase our solutions portfolio that enables new delivery models and applications whether at home, in the branch, or on the road, to support Omnichannel customer experiences and grow your business.

Join Cisco at booth #4029 and learn how to:

Mark your schedules to attend our speaking sessions:

  • The Innovation Showcase competition will give attendees a closer look at our enhanced Cisco Remote Expert Mobile solution with a new aspect that delivers an engaging, personalized onboarding experience. Led by Karl Hartmann, banking practice architect for Americas Business Transformation, we’ll demonstrate how to connect seamlessly with your customers on their preferred channels, to start strong and build more profitable relationships.
  • During the “Creating a More Efficient Omnichannel Delivery Blueprint” panel session, Jim Henschel, banking practice manager for Americas Business Transformation, will share insights into why finding opportunities to drive efficiencies in distribution networks has never been more critical. The panel will also provide insights on how to manage margins and expenses while planning for innovative technologies that can maximize omnichannel performance. Make sure to read Jim’s recent “Branch of the Future – Network Innovations” article before the show.
  • Al Slamecka, banking practice advisor for Americas Business Transformation, will be taking part in the “Driving Efficiency in Your Distribution Network” panel session, where he will lead a discussion regarding strategies for making balanced choices amongst today’s evolving communications and delivery channels.

This year’s event takes place in Chicago, IL at the McCormick Place West Building. For more information about registering for BAI Retail Delivery 2014, visit the registration page here. We hope to see you there!

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Effortless School Holidays Thanks to a Great Customer Experience

customer experience blog AJ 11_2014Last week I was at Westminster Central Hall in London for the EMEAR and UK&I Customer Collaboration Sales Summit.   It was great to hear about some of the successes that our partners and customer are having, and some of the new developments in Cisco Customer Collaboration solutions.

One of the highlights of the summit was listening to my colleague, Zack Taylor talking about customer experience.  He outlined some of the ways businesses are measuring customer satisfaction and building cross-functional programs in which the contact center plays a key role.  In his session, Zack discussed three popular metrics that business leaders are tracking:

  • Effortless Experiences: Proponents of the Low-Effort measure argue that customers will become loyal to companies that deliver low-effort interactions over those who strive to provide a dazzling experience but are more difficult to engage with.
  • Net Promoter Score: Developed by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, the Net Promoter Score provides a simple way to measure a company’s performance. It provides qualitative data that can help companies improve their customer experience by assessing the willingness their customers to enthusiastically promote (or not) their product and services to friends, colleagues, or family members. Read More »

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