Retailers: Make 2018 the Year the Network Strikes Back

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NRF 2018

Witness the power of the network. Over the past 20 years it (in the form of the global Internet) transformed retail. Shifting power to agile online innovators. And leaving traditional retail behind. 

But suddenly, the shoe is on the other foot. A new generation of networked innovations is giving retail a chance to leverage the power of the network to strike back. And to deliver a customer experience online retail can’t touch. Literally

But you'll need to move fast. If there is one thing we've all come to learn, if you’re not paying attention to what is going on in the retail space, someone more agile and unencumbered by legacy anything is going to come along and create disruption.

Leverage the network to accelerate retail transformation 

While tech companies have been making constant progress to deliver more speed and agility to their established brick and mortar customers – and the majority of those customers have steadily improved their own online efforts – the limitations of entrenched legacy infrastructure have not been easy to escape. 

Central to the challenge are the networks connecting it all together. Ironic, right? The very same vehicle that enabled the Amazons of the world to clobber once mighty big box giants with a superior CX (customer experience) was also preventing those retailers from leveraging similar customer pleasing technology to catch up. 

Then, early this year, SD-WAN showed up, sending a signal things may start to change. For the first time in decades – going literally back to the days when Amazon sold only books! – there's a new distributed network technology that can deliver the bandwidth, reliability and security needed to put all sorts of new and innovative applications to work at point of purchase. And make today’s highly demanding, fickle, tech loving customers return to the stores they once flocked to. 

If that kind of retail transformation sounds interesting to you, then 2018 may be a very happy new year indeed.

Network optimization, check! Customer engagement, check! 

While Windstream is obviously in the network business, it's important to understand that while the network is essential to retail transformation, at its core it's a platform for retail to start to strike back. What comes next is a range of agile cloud driven tools and technologies that can now be implemented in ways they never could before. Bringing an entire new level of engagement to create the store of the future, and form stronger connections with customers. And get them excited about multisensory, real world, digitally enhanced customer experiences that even the most sophisticated ecommerce player can’t approach. 

These include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Unified Commerce systems integrating online and offline systems and inventory and enabling customer pleasing innovations like order anywhere, ship to/pick up anywhere, among many others.
  • Augmented and virtual reality to drive innovations like digital changing rooms where you can try on endless outfits with the swipe of a finger.
  • Real time analytics and artificial intelligence for personalized stylists and offers and curated shopping that make shoppers feel like the most important person in the store.
  • Complete mobility, empowering customers and employees alike, creating a feeling of superior online/offline integration, and getting shoppers in and out fast with mobile checkout.
  • RFID, IoT, geofencing, digital displays and kiosks, autonomous fulfillment, and much more.

 

Retail transformation: Full speed ahead at NRF 2018

NRF 2018 The two most important steps towards retail transformation are 1) develop a plan, and 2) make sure your network is ready to support it. 

Our booth at NRF 2018 is an excellent place to begin both parts of this process; we'll be there with our partners at BRP Consulting. Between us, we can dig into a complete range of issues and challenges relevant to retailers today. And help you plan a network and unified commerce strategy to make 2018 the year your organization turns the tables and leverages the power of the network to accelerate retail transformation. And empower retail to strike back. 

See you there!