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Coming to NRF: Lisa Fretwell on Shopping Trends, New Frontiers

Cisco will be featured in two Big Idea sessions at this year’s NRF conference starting tomorrow, and I’m happy to introduce guest blogger Lisa Fretwell, who will be leading one of these two seminars. Lisa is the Managing Director of Retail at Cisco Consulting Services, specializing in the Internet of Everything and analytics, and how these new capabilities can transform and differentiate retail and consumer product businesses:

In today’s digital era, stores are clearly challenged in terms of sales and profitable growth. Every retailer is faced with needing to change and innovate their store to deliver results.

Overall, the majority of stores across all categories are demonstrating flat or declining like for like, exacerbated by price deflation. Cisco’s recently concluded annual survey on shopper behavior of 10,000 shoppers highlights the ongoing shift away from the store to online. Twenty percent of consumers now make more than 50% of their purchases online, and this number is expected to continue to grow.

However, when you dig down into the data, you may be surprised by some of the changes. As just one example, we asked shoppers which categories they had significantly moved from store to online. We learned that 41% of the consumers surveyed have somewhat or significantly increased their online purchases of apparel in the last two years – clothing, shoes, and accessories. Traditionally, these products are the life blood of why shoppers go to a store – to touch, feel, try on.

So is it all doom and gloom for shops? No, not if you’re up for innovation and change. There are still significant reasons for shoppers to visit stores. Our research highlights some key insights that retailers must leverage to drive healthy results and make the store experience hyper-relevant.

Our experience from retail engagements suggests the answer lies in two areas: being able to deliver dynamic experiences, and to improve ways of working. From instant response to customer needs to improved process digitization, we are seeing that retailers are increasingly relying on a combination of sensors, analytics, automation, cloud, and edge computing.

If we apply this model to a $20 billion turnover retailer with 900 stores, Cisco estimates that there is $312 million of incremental benefit to be had: $170 million from digitizing ways of working: staffing optimization, store routine digitization, and colleague collaboration; plus $142 million from improved customer conversion through insight, digital offers and loyalty, service, and cross-channel selling. We believe this approach offers the next much-needed step change in store economics.

To learn more, please join us at NRF on Sunday for Cisco’s Big Idea sessions:

  • The first, at 10:15 am in Room 4 of the Expo Hall, covers more on our annual survey results. It is led by Cisco Vice President Joe Bradley (replacing Anabelle Pinto due to a family emergency).
  • Then, at 2:00 pm in Room 4, Cisco’s Shaun Kirby and I will discuss how retailers are taking advantage of the “Internet of Everything: New Horizons in Retail.”

We look forward to seeing you there!

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How Trinity Leeds is changing the future of retail with IoE

Shopping centres have been around for thousands of years, supposedly starting in Ancient Rome. The basic concept of a shopping centre has not changed much since then; a large building, or multiple buildings connected, which contain a variety of retail stores, services and restaurants. However, we at Land Securities, a commercial property group based in the UK, are changing the way customers experience shopping with our newest shopping centre, Trinity Leeds, “the mall of the future.” Read More »

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My Internet of Everything Holiday Wish List

‘Tis the season to shop and to make resolutions  for the coming year. I’m doing a fair bit of both, inspired by the many Internet of Everything (IoE) products that are popping up everywhere. And while it’s the season of giving, I’m also finding plenty of things I wouldn’t mind getting myself. According to the National Retail Federation, I’m not alone. “Self gifting” makes up almost a third of all holiday shopping.

IoE is about things connecting to the Internet, millions of things. It’s about turning the data they collect into information we can act on or respond to. Cisco defines IoE as bringing together people, process, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before. Read More »

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Driving Agility and Innovation Through Software

User Experience - RetailIn the US, this is the time of year when holiday shopping kicks into high gear. From Black Friday to Cyber Monday and beyond, retailers begin their big push to drive nearly a quarter of their annual revenue. And whether their customers are online or inside a traditional store, retailers today have the ability to understand shopper behavior better than ever before. This information – from purchasing patterns and advertising effectiveness to dwell times and foot traffic – allows retailers to provide their customers with a more personalized, richer digital experience that’s more likely to result in a sale. It’s a win-win. And it’s made possible through an intelligent network that manages the data analytics, location information, security, and mobility applications that drive a more enhanced and personalized user experience.

Software plays an integral role in this intelligent network. Whether it’s driving data virtualization and analytics, for example, or enabling an application-centric private and hybrid cloud, or providing comprehensive threat protection – software plays a vital role. But even more than that, software enables businesses to be more agile and innovative with market and technology transitions.

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Internet of Everything (IoE) – The Key to the Next Leap Toward Frictionless Business

Fighting “Friction” in the Check-Out Line and Beyond

You pull up to the gas pump, wait in a long line, and then fumble with your debit card and the touchscreen. Once at your hotel, you search mightily to find a parking spot before struggling with the ticket payment system. And then comes check-in, which entails more waiting in line at the front desk to get the key, before discovering that the key doesn’t work.  When you finally get in the room, it’s set way hotter than your preference.

OK, none of these experiences are major hardships, let alone life threatening. But taken together, along with so many other time-wasting aggravations — or business friction — they do take a toll: on energy bills, productivity, and nervous systems!

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