Modernizing the WAN is key for OmniChannel Retailing and In-store Experience

sreekanth.kannan
By Sreekanth Kannan
Director of Product Marketing, VeloCloud
January 13, 2016

Allowing customers to buy online, search complete list of product options, access online services including loyalty apps and couponing, all right in the store, is fast-becoming the expected shopping experience. This trend started with Apple Stores which seamlessly integrate elegant displays, virtual assistance and mobile (point-of-sale) checkout. I wrote about this in my previous blog as to why and how retailers are fast adopting “Apple-like” store experience to boost in-store engagements.

Now, stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and other big retailers are also moving towards integrating their online channels with their physical store experience; in other words, creating an omnichannel (or multi-channel retail).

Walmart recently reported, in a Forbes article, that an average store-only customer spends approximately $1,400 a year, compared to only $200 a year by online customers. However, customers who shop through multiple channels spend $ 2,500 a year.

omnichannel

But there’s a catch. In order for customers to connect their personal mobile devices with guest Wi-Fi or digital store kiosks, they need reliable, fast Internet connections. Without them, a customer’s experience quickly reverts back to the standard brick and mortar experience from yesteryear. And that will not translate into revenue growth.

Furthermore, stores that are installing and using omnichannel are able to capture, in real-time, customer buying behaviors and patterns. This in turn gives a retail store outlet the ability to continually enhance and personalize the shopping experience. But again, without a fast, reliable connection, capturing terabytes of data from customers day in and day out, would be impossible.

Most retailers cannot support these apps and data access reliably with their existing WAN network due to bandwidth capacity limitations and performance issues (latency, jitter or packet loss). Private lines/MPLS are not practical or scalable to support WAN network reliability due to the cost of supporting multiple stores. And public broadband and 4G-LTE are not robust or reliable enough to compensate for additional bandwidth.

To successfully modernize the stores, retailers need to provide an “Apple-like” store experience and do omnichannel integration, both needing 99.99% WAN network reliability at an affordable cost. Turns out there is a Cloud-Delivered SD-WAN that does just that. SD-WAN creates a robust, modern WAN capable of supporting a modern store’s multiple, bandwidth hungry applications, access cloud resources efficiently and keep the store IT infrastructure lean.

VeloCloud Cloud-Delivered SD-WAN can automatically and intelligently mix any number of broadband/Internet links like cable, DSL and 4G/LTE, to create a robust virtual network capable of supporting a modern store’s multiple, bandwidth hungry applications and data access.

Retail-SD-WAN4

VeloCloud’s service allows retailers to provide a delightful shopping experience for their customers using readily available, inexpensive commodity link and transforming them into predictable, reliable, and resilient circuit. At the same time, administrators gain full, real-time and historical visibility into circuit characteristics and all traffic. With 99% application performance assurance, VeloCloud SD-WAN can help retailers integrate omnichannel without worrying about their store network.

Just remember that when you shop online and choose to pickup the merchandize in the store, and when you arrive in the store, instead prefer to switch to a different product based on the in-store availability, all this would not happen without a robust omnichannel integration that relies on the store WAN network.


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