Take a walk through any shopping mall or stretch of retail storefronts. You'll see countless examples of in-store technology innovation reshaping the shopping experience, whether it's shelf sensors that provide better visibility into a shop's stock, connected cameras that monitor for shoplifters or wireless tablets that help customers make a buying decision.
We're in what some have called the "Third Wave of Mobile" — we've completed the phase when consumers adopted mobile devices on a broad scale and then brought them to the workplace as part of the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) trend. We're now in a period when companies are deploying in-store mobile devices and applications to reach customers directly — and brick-and-mortar retailers are leading this charge.
The problem is, as soon as these new mobile applications are introduced, the back-end IT infrastructure immediately becomes more complex, making it more difficult for IT managers to maintain visibility into the application flows, guarantee network performance and, in turn, provide an exceptional customer experience — the very reason for deploying them in the first place.
Consumer technology retailer Dixons Carphone Group (DCG) experienced these issues first-hand as part of the rollout of a new tablet-based, in-store sales tool, Pin Point. The tool allows customers to input their mobile device requirements into the app, helping DCG deliver the right device for customers' specific needs. But to actually deliver these results, DCG first needed to enhance its high-speed network connectivity and improve visibility into its new application environment.
High-Speed Network Leads to High-Tech Customer Experience
DCG turned to BT Connect Intelligence InfoVista, a managed service from BT, built on InfoVista's application performance guarantee solution, to provide lightning-fast broadband to its 1,300 stores. Within less than five weeks, BT had installed its solution in 200 DCG stores, just in time for the busy holiday shopping season, according to Qasim Ali, director of group IT services for DCG.
By introducing BT with InfoVista's application performance guarantee solution into its existing network environment, DCG avoided a network upgrade that would have cost about £1.5 million. Additionally, DCG's IT team gained in-depth insights into network performance, so it can now model the network to anticipate the effects of future innovative apps that it develops.
And just as DCG hoped, improved performance has led to an improved customer experience. DCG Deputy Group CEO Andrew Harrison says, "Innovations like our Pin Point assisted selling tool have had a staggering effect on business performance. We've already seen an improvement in outcomes as well as better-motivated store colleagues and a highly positive impact on the in-store customer experience."
Thanks to the 5,000 Pin Point devices that have been installed so far, DCG has achieved an industry-leading net promoter score (NPS), driven by upticks in both sales conversions (40 percent increase) and customer satisfaction (30 percent increase).
This use case is a great example for any company that may be intimidated by the “Third Wave of Mobile.” With an application performance guarantee tool, IT managers can gain actionable visibility and in-depth network and application performance information, allowing them to steer application flows, simplify IT complexity, manage climbing traffic numbers and reduce IT costs, all while reshaping the customer experience with technology.
The “Third Wave of Mobile” represents an opportunity for enterprise IT managers, and application performance is a fundamental step along the way to get them to fully embrace and maximize it.
To learn more, see the video case study:
You can also download the recent benchmarking report, “ICT as Stage Director of End User Experience: Benchmark Report on Application & Network Management,” conducted by InfoVista and Videns IT Services.