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Big Ideas from NRF, Retail’s Big Show

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Digital strategies for delivering a superior in-store and online customer experience at NRF, Retail’s Big Show

Why would 30,000 people converge in NYC in 22F weather (-5C)? NRF, Retail’s Big Show.

For those of you who weren’t able to make it, here are some highlights from NRF and our Big Ideas Session: Digital Strategies for Delivering a Superior In-store and Online Customer Experience. Riverbed CMO Subbu Iyer and industry leaders Mick Tan, CIO of Beacon Lighting, and Joseph Preciado, Sr. Director of Asurion, shared how they are rethinking the omni-channel customer experience as well as the the results of our recent retail survey of 1,000 global customers.

NRF 2019, Retail, Asurion, Beacon Lighting

Riverbed CMO Subbu Iyer, Beacon Lighting CIO Mick Tan, and Asurion Sr. Director Joseph Preciado shared how they are rethinking the omni-channel customer experience at NRF 2019.

What is omni-channel today?

Omni-channel is the ability to transact across any channel: in-store, catalog, online via laptop, tablet, mobile, etc. For retailers, the importance of omni-channel is growing.

79% believe retailers won’t be competitive without a strong digital shopping experience

In the early days of online and mobile, you would browse on your iPhone, find some cool new sneakers, and put them in your cart while you mulled it over. But when you went to make your purchase on the website using your laptop for pick up in the store, nothing was in your cart. The shoes had disappeared. There was no cohesiveness across digital channels or between in-store and online. Fortunately, that’s changing.

Take Target for example. Wouldn’t it be great if you have an experience like they are offering at Target where you go in the store, see a curated assortment of room furnishings, physically select the items you’d like that are available in-store, order the others online, and pay for it all using your Target wallet that automatically applies your discount? Target realized that by focusing on the store they could increase their competitive advantage. This focus paid off and their digital business outperformed the industry by over 50 percent because three out of every four digital orders was fulfilled by a store. This brings me back to panel customers: Beacon Lighting and Asurion.

SD-WAN lights up new possibilities

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Beacon Lighting is a leading retailer in Australia with a focus on innovation and energy efficiency. But, like many retailers, their foot traffic was dropping and they realized that they would need to find new ways to connect with customers. They wanted to understand: would e-commerce work for them or is lighting something that customers want to see and feel before purchasing?

Beacon, like many retailers, determined that an omni-channel was right for them.

47% have gone to a physical store for the first time after a positive online shopping experience

They have launched a cross-channel digital transformation strategy, engaging new customers online with innovative products such as smart lighting (which allows users to adjust the brightness or color of light using only voice commands). Beacon drives its online customers to design studios in each store, where sales associates can use design software to demonstrate how a specific lighting fixture might look in a room. “This is something none of our competitors are doing,” said Tan.

But, making the in-store experience work well required better network connectivity than Beacon Lighting had in place so Tan turned to Riverbed SteelConnect (our SD-WAN solution) to offer the redundancy and the additional access points needed to implement new in-store tech.

SteelConnect also helps them spin up new stores quickly. “Before, when you set up in a new area, you couldn’t get internet in time to open your store,” said Tan. But by adopting SD-WAN, new branches are able to get started quickly with cellular instead of DSL.

Insurance for digital experiences

Our second panelist, Asurion, is also focused on transforming the in-store and online experience. They have more than 305 million customers across the globe and 34,000+ retail storefronts offer Asurion services including tech services, mobile protection, and extended warranties. If you’ve visited your local electronics store and the sales representative has asked if you’d like an extended warrantee, you’ve most likely been introduced to Asurion’s offerings.

At Asurion, Preciado and his team are leveraging Riverbed Digital Experience Management to ensure employee and customer experience. “You can’t have a good customer experience if you don’t have a good employee experience,” says Preciado. “The two are starting to blend. When you call the call center, you are calling the brand.”

39% after having a poor digital experience decided to shop elsewhere and 38% told family or friends

Asurion uses Riverbed SteelCentral Aternity (our end-user experience monitoring solution) for online and in-store transactions to make sure that all devices are working whether they are laptops, PCs, mobile devices, or even kiosks. It’s especially critical to monitor kiosks and POS tablets because there are no users to provide feedback on the experience, according to Preciado.

By measuring the entire transaction, including how it renders on the user’s device, he can better identify and resolve performance issues quickly. He is able to improve employee productivity by minimizing the amount of time spent waiting or re-entering a transaction while at the same time improving customer satisfaction.

Learn more about how Riverbed is transforming the retail experience and why 10 out of the top 10 retailers rely on riverbed.

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