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Omni-Tech for Omnichannel Selling

My last blog talked about the challenges of becoming an omnichannel retailer, and how stores are still learning how to make changes that cut across their entire business. We discussed how, appearances to the contrary, omnichannel selling is still about meeting a basic business requirement – finding the best outcome for you and your customer. However, finding these outcomes is a more complex proposition than it used to be.

Logically, to achieve consistent outcomes you need to achieve consistent consumer outreach, input, and sales approaches. But stores are also facing the demand to create a more personalized sales experience. How do you meet these seemingly contrary requirements? The key here is to find new ways to reach out to shoppers as part of the whole shopping experience, no matter what the channel.

For example, Cisco’s Remote Expert solution is a way to offer unique, personalized, yet centralized retail experiences for customers. It connects each shopper with a product expert wherever they are located, in real time, via mobile, immersive, or on-site channels. You save by leveraging your experts across single or multiple locations and devices using a pool of experts who may or may not be co-located, instead of providing expertise at every site or asking them to travel extensively. Retailers can also use the same solution to host training and corporate meetings, or to enable store feedback on products and merchandising. The result is a personalized shopping experience at a lower cost for the store.

Pretty sweet, don’t you think? To learn more, take the time to attend the webcast “Just Ask the Expert: Connect Your Shoppers to Virtual Experts, Anywhere, Any Time,” being held on Nov. 7. You can register here.

Truly omnichannel technologies are designed to support cost savings and efficiency, providing a more seamless interface for service that is customized for the shopper. As I said in my last blog, these approaches focus first and foremost on customer needs, making it easier to do business with your company.  A customer-centric strategy cuts across the business and all its channels, creating a different kind of relationship between you and your shoppers. See what Retail Systems Research has to say in their latest report about omnichannel strategies.

I love retail trivia! Comment below if you know the answer to this question: What is the second-most visited retail business in America? (Wal-Mart is first.)

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Delivering IT-as-a-Service with Cisco Prime Service Catalog and FlexPod at Steria

I’d like to share with you some insights from the recent deployment of Cisco Prime Service Catalog from one of our customers: Steria.

Steria is a leading provider of IT-enabled business services with 20,000 employees worldwide. Steria serves private and public sector organizations across the globe – with operations across 16 countries throughout Europe, India, North Africa, and Southeast Asia. With their expertise in IT and business outsourcing, Steria provides innovative solutions to help their clients improve efficiency and profitability.

One of Steria’s recent challenges was how to satisfy its clients’ desire to improve employee productivity and enable employees to work from any device. While IT-as-a-Service is becoming an increasingly competitive market in the Americas, offerings in Europe are still sparse – so this was also an opportunity to provide competitive differentiation for Steria’s services. Steria turned to Cisco to solve 3 key problems:

1. Providing employees with instant on-demand provisioning of desktop software and easy access to workplace IT resources,
2. Enabling employees to work from any device anywhere, and thus optimize computing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO),
3. And providing a simple, user-friendly portal and service catalog to make software offerings easily accessible.

Read More »

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Enhancing the MSE User Experience: Backup & Restore, Menu-based Device Setup

Following the last MSE blog on CleanAir, today I wish to explain how we prioritize the Mobility Service Engine’s user experience.

Listening to customers and implementing changes/features based on customer feedback has been a great strength of Cisco products. We from the Mobility Services Engine team strongly believe in this principle and make sure that we reach out to each and every customer who has provided a feedback on Cisco MSE and take their experience with MSE into consideration when designing future features and enhancements.

After analyzing the feedback we received during the MSE 7.4 release, I am pleased to announce that we have decided to implement the following two features as part of series of enhancements that we believe will improve the customer’s user experience with MSE.

Convenient Backup and Restore

Until the 7.4 release, MSE users had limited options in backing up their MSE data. The only supported option was to use the NCS FTP server as the destination for MSE data backups. Due to the limited disk capacity on NCS, as well as sharing of the disk space with other network elements, disk space limitations prevented MSE users from regularly backing up their data. If you are one of those users who always wished you could regularly backup MSE data without running into NCS disk space limitation, or if you wish you could back up your MSE data to non-NCS devices, we have some good news for you.

In the latest MSE 7.5 release, we have added the option to backup and restore your MSE data on remote FTP servers, provided there is connectivity between the MSE and the FTP server.  Similar to NCS Backups, MSE data can be backed up to configured repositories (internal or external FTP servers).  Love the command shell? We will also be coming up with CLI to backup MSE data. You can now start MSE backup using just a single command.

msecsat1 Read More »

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The Customer is King at Cisco Live

Last week, I was at Cisco Live in Orlando, Florida where I experienced first-hand the magnitude of opportunity and marketing value that lies in interacting with the customer.

This year’s Cisco Live theme is “What You Make Possible,” and this relates well to today’s B2B marketers and their customers. The message that resonates with customers today is not what “we the company” do, but how we help our customers succeed and thrive long term. As marketers, this means exercising foresight on our customers’ behalf, as well as advocating near-term solutions to help drive their success.

As a marketer, implementing these B2B best practices is the best way to enhance this focus on customers: Read More »

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A Mobility Guide to Cisco Live! Orlando Part II

We’re just a few days away from joining the record-breaking attendance at Cisco Live! in Orlando!

It’s been a busy week with the Internet of Everything and Connected Mobile Experiences project launch in Nice, the SITA Air Transport IT Summit in Brussels, and the recent news that our very own Cisco Aironet 3600 Series AP is the first publicly announced WFA 802.11ac certified commercial enterprise access point--that was a mouthful! Next week is busy too: ISTE in San Antonio, HITEC in Minneapolis, and, of course, Cisco Live! in Orlando.

This is Part 2 of the Mobility Guide to Cisco Live! Orlando:  Whether you’re in person or not, follow the whole thread on Twitter at #CLUS and follow @Cisco_Mobility for specific coverage.

In part I of the mobility guide, I gave a laundry list of some very special mobility-focused sessions in Orlando--here they are split out by days, plus some fun activities you should make sure not to miss!

Monday, 6/24
8:00 am RF Standards Update, Brian Hart

10:00 am Beyond BYOD, One Policy, One Management, One Network, Prashanth Shenoy

10:00 am AND 1:00 pm CCNA Wireless, Master the 802.11 protocols, Jerome Henry

3:30pm Solutions Keynote: Enterprise Networking presented by Rob Soderbury [editor's note: it's MONDAY not Tuesday--corrected in the last post] Read More »

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