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Omnichannel Is Changing How You Do Business – Sort Of

This is the final installment of a series on how retailers can address the challenges of becoming an omnichannel business. I’d like to wrap up by talking about a deceptively simple stumbling block – accepting that being an omnichannel seller changes how people work.  I spend much of my time talking to retailers, and this really is a big issue.

For example, I have seen stores install – and then turn off – Wi-Fi deployments because they worry that associates will waste time surfing the web. And, yes, some might. But consider the cost compared to customers knowing more than your salesforce because they’ve been doing online research. It makes your team look uninformed, lowers the quality of service, and impacts sales. Obviously, you don’t want workers to play games all day. Instead, train them to find and use online product information, social media, and reviews that will help improve response to customers – and deal appropriately with the exceptions.

Related to this are issues around Wi-Fi access for customers. If you provide it for employees, please just go ahead and extend this to shoppers. Universal store access allows you to optimize your brand with both employees and customers (and enables far more effective analytics). I guarantee that you will lose relevance over time as consumers learn your store is one of the few without mobile service.

As well, I’ve met retailers who won’t add Wi-Fi because they are convinced that the only outcome will be showrooming and ultimate desertion. It’s time to shed the fear of this increasingly common customer practice. Instead, leverage it as a new marketing tool. You can drive sales by being part of the customer’s social media experience, delivering your own identity, branding, and incentives. A recent Accenture study shows that younger consumers still want the in-store experience, but they also expect retailers to integrate personalized shopping across all channels.

Let’s talk more about this at the NRF Big Idea Sessions in New York, where I and Jon Stine, Lisa Fretwell, and Kathryn Howe will be speaking on Jan. 13 and 14.  Visit Cisco’s NRF website to learn more about these popular seminars, and stop by Cisco Booth #1954 to say hello.

The idea of omnichannel selling can be daunting, and getting the benefit may entail learning to manage a certain amount of risk. But you know – it’s just retail. The environment is becoming more device-driven and the way stores look is changing. But giving consumers what they want; interacting with, understanding, and nurturing them: It’s still the business of retail. And you know how to do that.

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Summary: Transforming Child Safety through Mobility

New innovations in mobility are transforming our daily lives and the safety of our loved ones. As the growth of mobility enables more wearable devices and applications that include GPS and Wi-Fi features, it is becoming increasingly easier for parents to remotely monitor their children’s safety while managing their own daily tasks.

Gartner predicts that wearable electronics will be a $10 billion industry. This opens up many opportunities for organizations that can successfully respond to the rapidly changing mobile landscape by bridging enterprise and service provider networks through an architectural approach to mobility.

How will this increase in mobile data impact your infrastructure and security? Two common concerns that must be addressed are the issue of bandwidth and the potential for malware attacks. It is important that IT leaders consider how a stable and secure network can significantly impact the future of mobility.

Read the full Transforming Child Safety through Mobility blog to learn more.

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Digital Transformation: Is Your Company Making the Pivot?

80% of survey respondents [administered by MIT/Sloan and Cap Gemini] believe that their companies need to go through a significant digital transformation. However, 63% of those respondents also believe that their current pace is too slow.

Sound familiar? Is your company moving too slowly? Are you moving at all?

I heard these stats while attending the recent Digital Leaders Summit in San Francisco. Aimed at those responsible for guiding their enterprises into the new digital future, the summit highlighted trends, best practices and case studies from a number of media and other companies including leaders from The New York Times, The Economist, Turner Broadcasting, Jump Associates, Coca-Cola, The LA Times, Politico, and others.

Digital Leader Summit

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Transforming Child Safety through Mobility

How fascinating is it that in today’s world, a parent can connect to an office network and still remain linked to a child via mobile device?

I recently came across a New York Times article that discussed how mobility is transforming our daily lives and the safety of ourChild Safety blog image loved ones. According to the article, new innovations such as Filip Technologies’ watch and Trax, can help monitor the whereabouts of young children and pets.

As the growth of mobility enables more wearable devices and applications that include GPS and Wi-Fi features, it is becoming increasingly easier for us to remotely monitor our children’s safety while managing daily tasks. Any parent would consider this a win-win.

In light of the capabilities of this type of technology, Gartner predicts that wearable electronics will be a $10 billion dollar industry. There is significant value at stake for organizations that can successfully respond to our rapidly changing mobile landscape by bridging enterprise and service provider networks through an architectural approach to mobility.

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Unlocking Wi-Fi Enabled Value-Added Services

Competing with the virtual, e-commerce world is becoming increasingly challenging for real-world businesses. Traditional retailers have long envied the massive amounts of valuable data that online retailers have available to help them better understand customer behavior and implement winning marketing tactics. Online retailers know valuable information such as how frequently customers return, how long they spend on their sites, what the customers looked at but didn’t buy, and where they went before and after coming to the site. Businesses as diverse as hotels, banks, stadiums, airports, and large public venues are all looking for ways to get similar detailed data on customer activities in their facilities, so they can improve the customer experience and their bottom lines. The data and insights have not been available to bricks-and-mortar facilities, until now.

That situation is changing through the growing availability of Wi-Fi in business locations. Many retailers, hotels, and other businesses are increasingly offering Wi-Fi as a service that allows their customers to connect mobile devices to the Internet. Hidden in this valuable service is a vast amount of information and insight, which retailers and others can use to deliver tangible value to their bottom lines. Hypersensitive location information, device details, identification of returning customers, and sophisticated path analysis are just some of the customer data captured by Wi-Fi networks. Businesses are now realizing that the data and capabilities offer new ways to improve the customer experience and support a range of market-leading monetization models.

For many businesses, these new location-based experiences and Read More »

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