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Challenges facing retailers in the omnichannel world

My colleagues Jon Stine and Lisa Fretwell with Cisco IBSG recently published research about consumers that are constantly channel hopping in their shopping journey.  We all have personal experiences shopping on the web, in the store and on mobile devices. 

I recently in the middle of a conversation during lunch, made a reservation on Open Table app, purchased a case for my phone on amazon app and bought a music album on iTunes  (Doctor Who Series 6), and pulled up directions to the local home improvement store, all in 10 minutes.  Obviously the consumer trend is shopping across multiple channels, and some retailers are succeeding in this new world, and some are not.

I sat down with Brian Kilcourse, managing partner of Retail Systems Research and this was one of the topics we talked about.

Some of the areas we discussed are:

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Are You Taking Care of Your Customers’ Wireless Experience in Your Branches?

Traditionally, customer satisfaction is driven by product availability and the ability of the staff to assist the shopper and complete the transaction. This model today is being broken by the modern consumer who is playing by different rules.

In a recent New York Times article on younger shoppers who prefer technology to staff assistance, retailers like Nordstrom are discovering that customers are using mobile applications not just in remote locations, but right in the store requiring them to improve their store’s Wi-Fi experience.

In addition,

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Help Her Say “Yes” to the Dress

Ever had a customer who hesitates to buy a dress because she worries she’ll never find the right accessories to tie the look together? Or because she’s just not sure it’ll pass the boyfriend test?  Too often such customers leave empty-handed, promising to come back with the man and/or potential shoes and jewelry in tow so she can decide.

Sometimes she comes back. Usually she doesn’t.

That doesn’t have to happen anymore, and retailers have technology to thank for it.

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New Cisco Case Study with retailer Sport Chalet and their Foundation for the Future

We are excited to showcase our latest retail video case study with Sport Chalet,  a chain of 54 stores in four western states. California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, plus an online store, www.sportchalet.com.

In this video Craig Levra, Chairman and CEO and Ted Jackson, Vice President of information technology and CIO of Sport Chalet discusses the importance of customer experience to Sport Chalet.  The video overviews how technology is an enabler to help their current and future business needs.

With their partnership with Cisco, Sport Chalet leverages technologies such as the network, data center and collaboration at headquarters and the stores to help run their business faster, enable their employees to put customers first and drive growth for the business.

For more information on how Cisco helps address retailers IT and business needs, please visit http://www.cisco.com/go/retail

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“What If” Could Be Now: A New Retail Experience

March 7, 2012 at 7:04 am PST

Consider me a weekend warrior of the DIY home-improvement world. My projects are likely laughable (in scope and outcome) in the eyes of the professionals, but if that’s the case, they’re not invited to my next barbeque. So there.

Granted, I sometimes experience delusions of grandeur as I envision transforming my fixer-upper into a quaint Sunset magazine-worthy before/after feature. Norm Abram will never worry about me usurping his reputation, but I like fixing things when they break and looking at something I’ve improved and knowing I did it.

I can swing a hammer and even use a tile saw, but most projects involve a lot of learning and asking questions along the way. Sometimes that’s a bit of a process – finding the answers I need or the people who have them. Read More »

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