The Shift from Retail Solutions to Strategic Capabilities
Hello, everyone! My name is Ed Jimenez, and I am the new lead for Retail & Hospitality for Cisco’s Business Transformation Team. My job is to help retailers and hoteliers make better use of technologies to deliver customer experiences that align with their brand promise.
I worked my way though college as a retail store manager before going into IT after graduation. Later, I joined a major book retailer at the dawn of the first eCommerce boom in the mid-‘90s, and that’s where I began to realize the excitement of how technology is driving this industry.
For years, many retailers were considered to be conservative, hesitant to invest in innovative technologies. But nothing could be further from the truth these days.
I’ve been fortunate to witness this transformation up close, and what I have seen hasn’t been a change around retail technology, but instead one of retail philosophy. I’ve been involved with some of the first implementations of cybercafés and order online-pick up in store back in the mid-1990s. I’ve also helped retailers ranging from Metro AG (Europe) to the Gap on Store of the Future concepts.
Retailers have always been solution-seekers looking for ways to address specific business problems – “I need a new inventory system,” or “I need better security.” Today, the conversations I’m having are much broader in scope: “What experience do I need to create in my stores?” and “How can I better represent my brand across channels?” Ultimately, the technology conversation has shifted to understanding what capabilities are needed to help support these long-term strategies.
Today, this transformation is accelerating as mobile customer engagement and sophisticated analytics are allowing retailers to redefine their entire business models. In this blog, I’ll be highlighting some of these examples and discussing the learnings from this journey we are all on.
Today’s retailers are no longer just product and distribution businesses – they are now becoming technology businesses. And I don’t think this is limited to the largest retail chains. Mobility and cloud capabilities are also giving smaller stores an exciting opportunity to create new experiences for customers at a very manageable cost – we are seeing some of the most innovative work being done in these businesses!
If you didn’t catch it at NRF, learn more about where retail stands in the overall move toward digitization based on Cisco’s most recent research.
I look forward to talking with you on a regular basis to discuss digitization and how leading retailers are breaking new ground in selling across all their channels. Stay tuned! Please feel free to contact me with your questions or comments at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.