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Pick the Low-Hanging Omnichannel Fruit

This blog is the third of a series on how retailers are addressing the challenges of becoming an omnichannel business. We’ve talked about how omnichannel selling is not really about rushing to invest in some whiz-bang technology – in fact, I think stores often try to do too much at one time.

Instead, a smart approach to your implementation is to find the low-hanging fruit – projects that have the highest probability of effectiveness and can be measured against business targets as a whole. Remember that every store has its niche, and one size does not fit all. By achieving rapid successes up front, you gain funding for the next piece of your strategy, building from success to success to achieve omnichannel entry.

For example, some retailers look at how to make it easier for shoppers to buy and return where they want. Stores don’t carry the same selections from region to region, and they need processes and systems to make such an approach successful. The key is inventory management: figuring out how to sell, reorder, and exchange products in stores that also serve as fulfillment centers.

Other retailers focus on building a strong relationship with shoppers through excellent customer service. For example, instead of picking up the red bat phone or having “Customer assistance on Aisle 3” called over the loudspeaker, consumers can contact remote experts on their own mobile device or through a kiosk. Still other stores may put resources into user interfaces, branding, and site useability. These personalized approaches also pay off in better information about the customer, allowing retailers to use video analytics and sensors to get help to the shopper faster.

To help stores define their best path forward, they often make use of “innovation platforms,” systems designed to allow you to quickly set up and try out new merchandising, practices, or seasonal locations.  Innovation platforms let you experiment with capabilities that leverage organizational strengths, hitting on the cylinders you want to address. Each success helps build the business justification for the next stage, supported by your cost/benefit analyses, baselines, and measurements.

Let’s talk more about this at the NRF Big Idea Sessions, where I’ll be speaking on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2:00-3:00 ET, in Room 4. My topic is “Detect, Connect, Engage: Enhance your Customer Experience with Mobility,” and I’ll discuss how to personalize the mobility journey and new strategies for delivering a meaningful customer experience. Visit Cisco’s NRF website to learn more about these very popular seminars. As well, please take time to attend some of the demos in Cisco booth #1954. These include several technologies that fulfill the requirements discussed above.

I’ll see you at NRF!

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Post-event: The Ultimate Omnichannel Experience – Cisco FSI at BAI Retail Delivery 2013

Enthusiasm was at an all-time high at BAI Retail Delivery 2013 in Denver, CO last week as we continue to see major transformation in the banking industry.  Within the Cisco booth, we demonstrated a series of solutions that enable digital and physical channels to become more interactive and sales focused, while improving the customer’s banking experience. Attendees were excited to walk through various live customer business scenarios – all enabled by the same infrastructure – and available today.

BAI Cisco Booth 1

Cisco’s Omnichannel Booth Experience
The Cisco Financial Services team led the booth tours that took attendees through an end-to-end omnichannel experience. Participants were asked to play the role of an existing customer for the entire demonstration and were shown how Cisco can assist financial institutions in their desire to be more intimate and responsive to their clients’ needs. We demonstrated a seamless customer experience that can drive increased satisfaction and wallet share. Read More »

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Create Mobile Web Campaigns with CMX Browser Engage

In the last MSE blog, Reddy Babu talked about the new Location Aware Guest Captive Portal powered by the Mobility Services Engine (MSE). The MSE was first introduced to provide location based information as a core service to the network, but has since built out a suite of location-based services that take the location-based data from the wireless network to the next level. These services are collectively known as the Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution. As you read in Dr. Brendan O’Brien’s blog last week, we have been introducing more and more features to the CMX solution.

Today I will expand on one of these new features offered by the Connected Mobile Experiences solution: Browser Engage – which is our new network based location and context aware orchestration platform.

Browser Engage allows organizations to customize the web browsing experience for mobile users in their venue by offering various context-aware value added services. These services, such as indoor navigation and search, are available to the mobile user throughout their mobile web browsing experience. Browser Engage also helps organizations setup their content and serve them to the users based on device location. For example, an organization can deliver coupons or deals to mobile users based on their location within the venue—making the offerings much more relevant to the mobile end user.  Imagine yourself in a mall and a deal shows up on your phone right around lunchtime that is valid at a food court right around the corner.

So, how does it work? Read More »

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CMX Connect – An Innovative, Location Aware Guest Captive Portal

connect1With the explosion of smart mobile devices, consumers expect to have Wi-Fi access at pubic venues everywhere they go. Venue owners are under pressure to provide reliable Wi-Fi guest access in a simple and easy way. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to do that AND extract some value out of your investment in setting up the Wi-Fi network as well? Cisco Connected Mobile Experience (CMX) is an industry leading solution provides just that: an easy, customizable and location-aware way to onboard guests using CMX Connect, an ability to gain insights into guest behaviors using CMX Location Analytics and an opportunity to engage guests in meaningful ways using CMX Browser Engage.

With MSE Release 7.6 coming out later this year, we wanted to give you a closer look at new feature CMX Connect.  Read More »

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Big Business from Big Data

“Dad, how many mobile phones were sold last year in the whole world?”

“Is this a trick question? Well, there are about 7 billion human beings on earth. Assuming every…”

“No, no—give me a number.”

“Well, I am not 100 percent sure. How many do you think were sold?”

“1.75 billion.”

“How do you know?”

“Dad—it’s on the Internet!”

My 10-year-old daughter left the room, triumphantly. I looked after her—admittedly feeling a little bit jealous. I wanted to be 10 years old again, too. I’d like to grow up with access to any information, available at any time, at the touch of a button. And this is only the beginning. Soon, tailored information will be provided to us proactively, before we even know what to ask for.

It’s easy to forget how incredibly rapid technological development has been. The true uptake of the Internet happened only about 15 years ago. Think about what would happen if your family had to spend an entire week without being connected to the Internet and the constant global interactions to which we have grown accustomed. The next ”big thing” is always around the corner, waiting to disrupt everything we take for granted today.

So what will be the next big thing in technology? This is a topic of endless debate on the Internet, at dinners with friends, and in the trade press, with the discussion often descending deep into the weeds of architectures, capabilities, protocols, and standards. However, for a business executive, the only thing that really matters is the business impact. The only relevant business question is ultimately, “How can I improve my business performance enabled by technology?”

Big Business from Big Data - FINAL

Read More »

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