Today’s shoppers are no longer confined to physical stores for purchases. They, at least in the big cities, want to do their shopping by whatever means is most convenient to them. They may either visit a retailer’s website, or hop to the nearest outlet, or check online reviews, or talk to friends on social media or do all of this.
It is up to the retailer to unite these channels into a single powerful customer experience, one that builds a long-lasting, trustworthy and personalised relationship with their shoppers. Understandably, omnichannel seems to be the buzzword among the Indian retailers in order to woo this value conscious, digitally connected lot, who demand lower prices and are getting increasingly digitally influenced. Becoming an omnichannel retailer requires opening the store, products, and services to shoppers in an immersive, interactive environment that drives
customer interaction across any point of access, at any time.
Research shows that omnichannel consumers generally spend two to four times more money than single-channel consumers, and typically collapse their spend to a handful of key retailers. The ground reality is that retailers are not very clear on what to offer (and why ) and its impact on the overall economics of their stores.
One of India’s leading fashion retailers, Shoppers Stop, is showing the way forward. An avid user of technology since its inception, the retailer is leveraging modern technology to accelerate its digital business transformation and redefine customer experience. It is testing sound-based contactless payments at its stores; this technology will use sound-waves from mobile phones to enable customers to make cardless, cashless and contactless payments at all 84 Shopper Stop stores across the country.
Most recently, Shoppers Stop has collaborated with US tech major Cisco Systems to implement Cisco Wireless Solution across 80 Shoppers Stop stores. In select stores, Shoppers Stop is piloting another new-age technology, the Cisco Connected Mobile Experience (CMX) capabilities integrated with Cisco Wireless Solution for enhanced personalised experiences for shoppers.
At a macro-level, the agreement with Cisco is aimed to accelerate the digitisation of Shoppers Stop stores in line with its omni-channel strategy through which the company aims to achieve 20% digitally-influenced sales by 2020. A recent report by Cisco says that the number of public Wi-Fi hotspots will grow 112-fold to 5.4 million by 2021 in India. With Cisco’s expertise, Shoppers Stop has deployed guest Wi-Fi for more personalisation and digital services to help its customers discover the best shopping possibilities within its stores. Cisco’s CMX solution is designed to help Shoppers Stop better serve its customers by analysing individual customer experience, behaviour and engagement.
Anil Shankar, customer care associate and vice-president—IT, Shoppers Stop, says: “Retail is bound to be influenced by new technology. A key element of our omni-channel strategy is to digitally transform our physical stores to provide a seamless and convenient shopping experience. We believe that digitisation is not about just using the latest technology but about enhancing the customer’s journey. Cisco Mobility Solution will help us enhance customer experience, gather insights into our customer preferences and optimise our resources to offer enhanced personalised experiences to customers who shop at our stores.”
Dinesh Malkani, president, Cisco India and SAARC says, “Retail is one of the top three industries most vulnerable to digital disruption. In retail, insight is currency and these insights help retailers provide a hyper-relevant customer experience and remain competitive in the digital age.”
A quick glance at Shoppers Stop’s digital transformation and the role that Cisco technologies will play: Cisco Connected Mobile Experience (CMX) integrated with Cisco Wireless Solution can be delivered
either on premises or from the cloud, and will allow Shoppers Stop to deepen customer loyalty and boost sales through location-based services, targeted advertisements and advanced analytics. Registered devices are automatically recognised at all Shoppers Stop stores, further encouraging Wi-Fi usage with the convenience of not having to log in again.
Cisco’s enterprise-class secured wireless platform will bring the power of Cisco’s Wi-Fi infrastructure and intelligent network capabilities allowing Shoppers Stop to drive insights and actionable analytics to enhance the customer shopping experience and improve business operations with better operational control and seamless, secure Wi-Fi onboarding.
Among others, Cisco Video Collaboration solutions including Cisco SX10 and SX20 HD video endpoints deployed at Shoppers Stop will make it easier for Shopper Stop employees to connect, collaborate and make faster decisions and quicker resolutions with colleagues and partners from any location.
“It is not just about connecting existing systems—rather, it is a transformational way of looking at how you do business,” says a Cisco official. To succeed, IT and the business must work together to enable the customer experience and brand promises for the organisation as a whole, he informs.