Mobile devices have gone mainstream, and shoppers have become to rely on smart phones for their primary source of information while making a purchase decision. Bob Friday, Cisco CTO in the Wireless Networking Group, presents on connecting shoppers through mobility and shares highlights from his Big Ideas session at the National Retail Conference in January.
I led the demonstration of the Cisco Remote Expert Smart Solution for Retail in our booth. This solution transforms how you connect and interact with your customers. It offers a superior video and collaboration experience between shoppers and remote experts from any location within your store. It can help you entice shoppers to buy and more easily up-sell additional products and services while improving customer service.
Our retail customers were engaged and excited by this demo. Every time a live video call was placed to our Remote Expert in the booth, they immediately began discussing how this solution could be applied in their store environments to enhance the customer experience and train employees. Multiple customers returned to the demo several times, each time bringing different colleagues to re-experience the demo and discuss options for deploying it in their stores.
These days, the generation of data has become almost as constant as breathing. With every click or swipe, today’s mobile, hyperconnected consumers exhale an ever-expanding trail of digital details, revealing troves of information about their wants, needs, interests, well-being, and aspirations.
All of that data offers great promise for retailers looking to know their customers in deep, new ways in order to provide carefully targeted products and services. But it is also a source of headaches. Those same retailers are wrestling with a complex new realm of Big Data analytics, where a deluge of information from new sources like video, mobile, and social media threatens to swamp their capacity for processing. That is, if they can properly access those new data streams in the first place.
After a long day of showing the Cisco BYOD Smart Solution and Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences solutions at the 2013 National Retail Federation (NRF) trade show, I am waiting for a colleague to meet me for a well-deserved dinner. I had many, and yes there were MANY, conversations with Retail IT professionals, and nearly every conversation I had seemed to revolve around the same two problems:
How do I allow employees and / or customers to access the network when I don’t have dedicated local IT support?
How do I give up the control and make sure my security and compliance requirements are met?
We know almost all organizations are struggling with BYOD, but it’s now clear that the lack of local IT support adds a new dimension to the problem. With the increased adoption of mobility, there’s also the added complexity of security and compliance, and with all the connected consumers walking around, it’s becoming a growing concern in the retail space. Retail organizations want to take advantage of the promise that leveraging Wi-Fi access to engage with employees and customers, but fear the management and security of such services.
Fortunately, Cisco is addressing both these issues with its mobility solutions.