Today, I would like to share a Cisco Retail story. The setting is Francisco Market, a fictitious marketplace that illustrates Cisco’s use cases and solutions in retail. Francisco Market’s customers, associates, and operations all provide glimpses into the business needs retailers currently have, the capabilities that Cisco and its partners provide, and the outcomes that can be achieved through digital transformation.

The Customer Experience

Outside the market

The story starts with a Francisco Market loyalty member, Anne, who is on the interstate driving her electric vehicle and receives a notification from the Francisco Market app notifying her that she can recharge at the location ahead. The app offers to reserve her a spot at a charging station and Anne accepts.

Anne pulls into the parking lot and receives a message from Francisco Market offering her a free cup of premium roast coffee. These first mobile engagements showcase the conversational experiences  that imimobile can provide to engage customers across their preferred digital messaging channels. Such engagements enrich customer journeys via media, suggested actions, quick replies, personalized deals, and discounts.

Anne connects her vehicle and sees third-party advertisements and a message about the free coffee promotion on the charging station’s digital signage. After experiencing the same information both via her mobile device and on the charging station screen, she decides to redeem her free cup of coffee and makes her way to the Francisco Market entrance.

Entering the market

Anne enters the market and OpenRoaming technology directs her phone to automatically connect to the guest Wi-Fi. The Francisco Market app welcomes Anne, gives an update on her vehicle’s charging status, and advises her that the market has introduced new breakfast items.  Anne is interested and heads to an ordering kiosk.

The seamless and automatic onboarding is made possible by Cisco DNA Spaces ability to effortlessly and securely onboard customers to store Wi-Fi. This not only enhances the customer’s mobile experience but also provides retailers with a digital identity for their customers to better understand their behaviors and future needs.

In these first few steps of the story, we’ve seen how the ability to consistently engage customers with personalized and contextual offers is how retailers can differentiate themselves from their competitors. Ensuring that these mobile engagements happen in a reliable and secure way is enabled using Cisco’s full-stack observability. FSO gives retailers the end-to-end visibility into the state of their applications and all the services required to deliver the experiences for which they are designed.

Inside the market

At the kiosk, Anne sees personalized suggestions for breakfast items based on her profile (including her free coffee order). She chooses a breakfast panini and sees she has flexible fulfillment options to take her order to go or eat in inside. She has the time to sit down and eat, so she chooses that option. While Anne is waiting for her breakfast panini to be prepared, she stops by the coffee bar where she notices electronic shelf labels at each coffee urn displaying temperature and brew information. The real-time data indicates that the premium roast she wants to try was brewed just a few minutes ago and based on the temperature information provided by IoT sensors in the pot, she can see its still hot!

Electronic shelf labels (ESL’s) fuel the imagination of retailers looking to transform digitally and can show valuable data to enhance the in-store user experience by assisting both staff and shoppers to save time and make informed decisions.

Checking out

Anne leaves the coffee bar and makes her way toward some market displays featuring local produce. While there, she receives a message from the Francisco Market app confirming her order for a breakfast panini and coffee. She is prompted with an option to add some fresh fruit to her order. She feels an apple would complement her panini well and she adds it to her order.

Although Anne was not intending to add fruit to her cart, the timely and relevant offer increased her basket size and created a more satisfying experience for her. Delivering compelling mobile engagements requires applications that are reliable and available to customers in-store and beyond. This means that ensuring flawless application performance and optimizing customer experience is critical to retail success and is how AppDynamics is driving digital transformation in retail.

Because she is a loyalty member, Anne avoids waiting in line and starts her mobile contactless checkout using the Francisco Market app.  As she completes checkout, she receives a message confirming her purchases and the points earned for her visit. The app also notifies her that her panini should be ready in less than a minute and will be delivered to the order pickup area. A contactless checkout provides an enhanced experience for retail customers who are looking to expedite their shopping trip and allows them to move quickly though what is often the biggest friction point, the checkout.

Cisco provides the connectivity needed to ensure retail customers can have a contactless experience and Cisco’s security solutions for retail ensure every transaction is secured whether in-store or on the go by providing reliable end-to-end security, irrespective of platform or location.

Anne makes her way to the pickup area. She has a QR code on her device that an associate can use to ensure the correct order is delivered to her. Anne picks up her items and sits down to enjoy them while her electric vehicle finishes its charge. She is pleased with her shopping experience and decides she will frequent this location moving forward for all her charging and shopping needs.

The Associate Experience

Earlier in the day, a Francisco Market associate, Evan, received a message enabled by imimobile offering him a shift today. Evan accepted the shift with the simple tap of a button, and headed to the market.

Once on site, Evan was automatically connected to the market Wi-Fi using OpenRoaming and his presence confirmed that he was present for his shift. Evan was automatically added to store workflows and at one point during his day, he received a message that he had an order to deliver. He scanned the QR code to confirm he was delivering the order to the right customer and completed the delivery of a panini and apple to a customer named Anne.

As with a customer application, Cisco’s full-stack observability also enables retailers to deliver a consistent and secure application experience for associates. Effectively delivering relevant information to associates enhances associate productivity while empowering them to meet customer needs.

Store Operations

The final portion of the Francisco Market story is in the back office of the marketplace. Here, Francisco Market’s store manager, Bill, manages the operations that enable experiences like Anne’s and Evan’s to happen. Bill has a variety of tools in his office each providing a means to make informed, real-time decisions.

Cisco Meraki provides Bill with visibility to prevent loss and detect fraud within the store. By using artificial intelligence and video analytics, Bill is able to detect a variety of activities, such as sweethearting, fraudulent stored value card activation and returns fraud.

Providing a safe and compliant environment for associates and customers is a paramount component of store operations. The Meraki Vision Portal provides a mechanism for monitoring physical safety & security in and around the store, via real-time viewing, motion search and time-lapse views and the ability to share evidentiary video.

Bill can also monitor the current state of the entire store environment and equipment, from temperature, humidity & air quality, to coolers & freezers, soda fountains and coffee urns. He can not only manage the comfort of the store, but also look for tell-tale indicators where preventative maintenance may be required. Meraki dashboards allow for instant mobile alerts, allowing Bill to remain in-the-know even when working remotely.

And finally, as sustainability becomes a priority initiative for retailers, IoT sensors can be used to get ahead of climate control challenges with environmental monitoring. Bill is able to monitor power consumption by HVAC and electrical systems, as well as help reduce the carbon footprint by leveraging technologies such as POE lighting to ensure Francisco Market is hits its sustainability targets.

Between customer expectations and an experience that delivers, there’s a bridge

As Francisco Market illustrates, the increasingly digital, always-on world continues to transform every aspect of the retail industry. Customers have grown accustomed to frictionless digital experiences and demand the same type of seamless, personalized engagements the moment they walk through a store door.

This proliferation of technology doesn’t end with the customer. It is impacting every component of the value chain. It’s no longer enough for retailers to simply adopt technology. To compete in the new world of retail, technology investments must enable retailers to deliver experiences that meet growing customer expectations.  Cisco not only understands this new world of retail, our solutions make it possible.


Scott Lantis

Marketing Manger Global Industries