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Bringing Mobile Analytics and Location Innovations to Retail’s Biggest Show

It’s NRF time again! NRF, the retail industry’s biggest conference, is back in NYC this week. Big data and analytics are still top of mind this year in retail, but the hot topic added to the mix is the use of beacons powered by Bluetooth low energy (BLE), enriching your engagement with customers and helping you make smarter business decisions.

Once again, Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) is here at NRF this year. We’re ready to show you how you can leverage real-time analytics, location innovations (including BLE technology), and our app development platform to optimize operations, boost customer satisfaction, and increase revenue.

If you’re coming to NRF this week, check out our demos at Booth 2052 and learn how Cisco CMX can transform your retail business.

 

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In Retail, Insight Is Currency, and Context Is King

Today’s retailers face a rising tide of change, disruption, and challenges, all driven by technology. As their business landscape is upended, many are struggling to adapt to changing consumer behaviors, competition from disruptive innovators, and exponentially increasing complexity.

The source of much of this disruption is the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the networked connection of people, process, data, and things, and Cisco projects these connections to surge from 13 billion today to 50 billion in the next decade. For retailers, that means a sharp increase in the potential channels, devices, and shopping journeys that are available to consumers. Increasingly, retailers must meet new demands for relevant, efficient, and convenient shopping experiences, whether in-store or out.

IoE_Retail_Figure_Journey_3-2

But for traditional retailers, IoE also presents tremendous opportunities. At the National Retail Federation’s “Big Show” in New York this week, I have seen a great openness to change and innovation. As I see it, traditional retailers are ready to step into the IoE era, but they will need the right ecosystem of partners to guide them through the transformation and help them make the right investments.

To better understand these opportunities and the changing competitive dynamics in retail, Cisco recently undertook a comprehensive, three-pronged study consisting of original research, economic analysis, and interviews with retail industry thought leaders. Released this week, the first wave of primary research findings includes 1240 consumer responses from the United States and the United Kingdom.

A key theme that emerged from the research was that today’s consumers demand new kinds of digital experiences, both in-store and out. In our survey, we presented respondents with 19 concept tests — everything from digital signage and same-day delivery to mobile payments and augmented reality. Above all, we found that shoppers seek a hyper-relevant experience — more so than a hyper-personalized one. In short, efficiency and savings are more important to them than personal engagement.

In our survey, 38 percent of respondents identified greater efficiency in the shopping process (e.g., ensuring items are in stock, speeding checkout times) as the area retailers most need to improve. By contrast, 13 percent sought improvements that would lead to a more personalized shopping experience. Read More »

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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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Collaboration—It’s More than You Might Expect

Collaboration in the era of the Internet of Everything (IoE) is not just about people connecting with people. Yet when you ask most people how they picture “collaboration,” they probably think of person-to-person collaboration first: perhaps a web-based conference call where people are sharing content such as a Word document or a PowerPoint presentation. Or they might envision an immersive teleconference experience with people from different continents, across multiple time zones. Or they might think of a more traditional approach—a group of people having a lively discussion around a conference table, with someone taking notes on a whiteboard.

Read More »

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Cisco CMX @ NRF 2014

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NRF 2014 was held last week at the Javits Centre in New York City. It’s the biggest retail event of the year where vendors show off the future of the industry to all the delegates both using inspiring key notes and exciting demos on the Expo floors.

2014 and beyond:

It wasn’t too hard to identify that there were some common themes. On Tuesday afternoon I stood on the main Expo floor and just looking around I could quickly see the industry’s top of mind phrases and buzz words popping out:

“Omni channel”,”Onmianalytics”, “Predictive”, “Insights”, “Customer science and Analytics”, “Precise Location Matters”, “Analyze Decide”, “Mobilize”, “Mobility solutions”, “Big data”, “Customer engagement”, “Adaptive offers”, “Personalized customer experience”, “Customer Experience Analytics”

We certainly are entering the era where using data, analytics and personalization is no longer just an interesting notion or “nice to have” for retail – it is now the KEY thing companies MUST do.

And a big common theme is that mobile is exploding and changing things rapidly, so retailers either need to keep up or inevitably fall behind their competitors. Read More »

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