These are certainly not easy times to be a retailer. Recently, our colleagues in Europe started to think about how to address many of today’s issues with “programmable retail,” the ability to write intentions and read the status of your business from the network. The weather, what a celebrity wore, a winning recipe from a cookery show, an on-trend brand opening a flagship store nearby, long-term road or building works, a major sporting event, a national holiday, a presidential election: All these are factors that can drive a spike or a slump in retail footfall and sales.

We see this around the world. For example, in the U.S., a post-election dip impacted on in-store spending by up to 20.3% in November 2016 (source: RetailNext), while heavy snowfall causing New York stores to close for a single day has been estimated to represent $152 million in lost sales (source: IHS Global Insight).

Some of these factors are (relatively) easy to predict and build into demand planning and forecasting, some distinctly less so and of course the impact varies greatly. Yet the Internet of Things (IoT) is opening up the possibilities for accurately anticipating shopper behavior in real-time at a micro level, and directing in-store activity accordingly – with no crystal ball required!

Enter the world of programmable retail. This blog series, authored by Cisco’s Edward Westenberg, explores how predicting and acting on shopper intentions, or interpreting and acting on shopper or associate activity, can deliver a seamless customer journey and optimize scarce resources:


Mary Freeman

No Longer with Cisco