Envision if you will that it’s January 15th, 2012 and I am a week into my career at Cisco. On this day I would make my maiden voyage to the Cisco world headquarters in San Jose, CA. I would do all the new employee stuff, like getting my badge, laptop, and other meet and greet items that day. I would also take a trip to the Cisco store to get the latest swag they had to offer. I remember that trip to the Cisco Store as being pretty brief, as the Store was small and honestly cramped and located inside our campus café with limited choices and a limited overall experience with no technology, no content, no assisted selling, nada. Certainly ripe for digital transformation as I think about it today!
Note: Yes, I did start my blog about a boring trip to the Cisco store nearly 7 years ago. Let me tell you why!
Let’s fast forward to June 1, 2018 and boy have things changed in a number of ways at Cisco, including our industry focus and the Cisco store (and in this case we are leveraging the two together). You see, Cisco’s taken a comprehensive view on our industries, retail industry included, and we are working to leverage all of our technologies, in concert with our partners, to take advantage of this great opportunity to drive digital transformation. Oh, and the Cisco Store is also leveraging this opportunity as a time to drive their own digital transformation too as they open their new store (physically and digitally)! Let me explain how all came together using the Cisco Store as an example and insights from the Director of the Cisco Store, Rachael Weiss.
- Goals: Rachael and her team began the journey to create a new Cisco Store in 2016 with three major goals. Those goals were to operate more efficiency, empower the store associates and to improve the customer (Cisco employees, partners and guest) experience. Like Rachael, all of our customers are seeing the true opportunity or digital value at stake in all of these areas and this was an opportunity to drive that change as they planned the new store.
- Solutions: Rachael knew that the combination of Cisco’s retail offers including Store Fabric, Store Mobility and Secure Store while leveraging a number of partner integrations and use cases could achieve success both with the physical store and digital store (Yes, we have an app for the Cisco Store now). These are the same retail offers we are taking to market with our partners as they transformation retail with us. These offers leverage architectures like Wireless, Digital Signage, Collaboration, Switching and Security just to name a few.
- Partnerships: No need to reinvent the wheel from what we are telling our retail customers and Rachael knew that! Her team leveraged partnerships with folks like Tulip Retail, Mishipay, Apple and Intel just to name a few. We’ve showcase a bunch of these partnership and posted them on our Industry Transformation Partner Hub and in our Ecosystem Partner Locator and in working closely with Rachael and her team we now can show the industry just how we are solving things like “Scan and Go”, “Assisted Selling”, and “Wearable/ IoT integration”.
But don’t just take my word for it let me share with you what Rachael told me recently…
“We’ve opened the doors to The Connected Cisco Store, Cisco’s employee store at our corporate headquarter in San Jose. Not only is this a place to connect employees, recruits, customers and partners to the Cisco culture and brand, but a Cisco on Cisco business, transforming the way we serve our customers and empower our associates through technology. Our tech stack, with Cisco at the center, was designed with a modular approach, so that over time we can work with different partners that bring unique solutions to the table for an amazing in-store experience both in the front, and back of house. We view this fresh and contemporary destination as a living lab to showcase the best solutions in the industry. The partners we are working with today enable us to have a frictionless payments, theft and inventory control, and create an endless aisle. What is most amazing is, like most retailers out there, we weren’t able to start from scratch. We already had complex store operations in place, and we didn’t scrap them to move to these new solutions. Cisco built upon what we already had to help us create the experience we wanted.” –Rachael Weiss, Director, Cisco Store.
Now that is cool! And a way different experience to what I saw nearly 7 years ago inside the Cisco Store today — tremendous to see how the offers and partners align to not only the strategy for our end customers but also our own internal needs too. The digital transformation experience is one that all of our retail customers are experiencing and planning for and why we are focused on empowering our partners to help us realize this opportunity together. To see an online tour of the Cisco Store or to see how you to leverage this experience with our partners and with your customers through this Virtual Tour.