I loved Toys when I was a kid!  Who didn’t?  I remember researching the latest and greatest on my wish list.   I remember specifically one year when I wanted a new basketball goal and I was set to get the very best one…or at least recommend the best one to my family for purchase.   I didn’t care about the basketball goals specific components, net manufacturer, rim specifications or who would install it, I just knew I needed it and I was ready to go to the nearest store to make my selection. You see, I was focused on the outcome (in this case me swishing hoops on the driveway), just like many of our customers and their customers (YOU) are today in the retail industry which as we all know is going through dramatic digital & customer experience disruption.

This week, at the 2018 National Retail Federation show we will address this digital disruption concept by creating our own toy store (YES!) as Cisco presents the ToyBox , a fully functional retail store enabled through a variety of technologies located at booth 2052 inside the Javits Center in New York City.  The ToyBox you see will showcase the outcomes our customers are looking for from two perspectives, either a shopper or an associate. Shoppers will leverage an interactive map to find their wish list items in the store while on their journey they will see digital ads, replacement products offered, a digital cafe, and much more.  On the associate tour, participants will experience things like assisted selling, store communications, inventory management and IOT use cases including re-stocking, asset management and much more.

Now you may be wondering how my basketball goal story links to the ToyBox store and Cisco’s presence at NRF?  You see in all of these situations there were numerous partners in place to execute this experience (me playing hoops on the driveway) and now that I think about it the needed to “future proof” my basketball goal purchase (you never know how that bounce of the backboard is going to react) was something at the time I wasn’t concerned with, but would be now.  In the case of the basketball goal I now think of all the components and technology that was needed to manufacture that pristine goal (rim, hoop, pole, backboard, then the concrete, installation, etc). For the ToyBox store at NRF it took leadership from Cisco, working with our world-class partner ecosystem, (in this case at least 15 partners) to be help us to execute this and show the industry just how quickly you can accomplish digital transformation in retail.

Here’s a quick view of what you will experience from just a few of these partners:  First is our relationship with Apple (www.cisco.com/go/apple) where we will showcase the power of iOS platform for retail and our joint engineering empowering Wi-Fi optimization, application prioritization (Fastlane) and device centric network analytics for all mobile devices.  Then there is our partner Intel who is working with us to power several IoT use cases around inventory management and asset tracking leveraging our Kinetic platform. Next is our relationship with Phunware and our Meraki business on the mobile shopper experience integrating location based services and then there is Tulip Retail who is providing a turnkey associate productivity app to improve associate selling, inventory management, and finally our friends at CDW are providing their MenuPad software to assist in the digital café and WWT who are helping with integration, testing and analytics. These aren’t all of the partners included in the ToyBox store but a good selection of those that will be included. To see all 15 partners in action, you’ll want visit our ToyBox at 2052 for sure.  You might even find a basketball goal?

What we will show is the end experiences at NRF is a fully digitized store, but what you might miss is how the partner ecosystem helped Cisco power it all.   It’s a powerful story that we are uniquely positioned to deliver just like that basketball goal I wanted as a kid!

For more information on what Cisco is doing follow along on twitter @CiscoRetail, or check out our Retail Work Book for our partners.


Bryan Bedford

Global Industry Director: Retail, Hospitality, Sports, Media and Entertainment

Global Partner Organization