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The Digital Transformation of the Customer In-Store Experience

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A topic getting a lot of attention today is the digital transformation of the customer’s in-store experience. If you already have SD-WAN for retail in place, this may not be as big of an issue. However, in the past, if a customer has just one bad experience, it can taint their opinion of the store forever. This is dangerous because they might tell friends and relatives about this experience, and the store’s reputation can quickly become at risk of ruin over one exchange.

Creating a good customer experience in the digital age presents more of a challenge.

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Retailers often have difficulty getting consistent application performance, and this affects both their employees and their customers alike (Related: Learn about application assurance from Hughes). We are in an age where increasingly, the customer’s expectation is being set before they ever set foot in a brick-and-mortar store.

People research stores before they enter them, or shop around for products looking for competitive prices. These at home experiences begin to form a customer’s ease of experience, outside of the store itself. (Related: Read about more ways SD-WAN can improve your customers’ experience.)

At home, a customer will wait, at most, maybe five seconds for a page to download, and then they move on to something else. Once they make it to the store, think of how your Managed SD-WAN solution can help ensure a positive experience is maintained. Now, imagine what happens when your employees, with their clienteling application, come up to a customer and it takes 10, 20, or even 30 seconds for the relevant page to download. The customer would likely walk away before the first 10 seconds have passed. Additionally, the employee would have a hard time justifying the use of that clienteling application again, because it has previously cost them a sale.

There are a number of solutions to this problem. One approach is that you could buy as much capacity as you can afford. (Related: Learn more about how to tailor your SD-WAN solution for your business.) At Hughes, we can simplify the transition from expensive T1s to broadband for you. Many T1s are only at one and a half megabits, while broadband can offer your enterprise up to 100 megabits of capacity—depending on your exact retail needs—at a cost-effective price.

The switch to broadband is not always seamless, and your network may not always optimize for your retail store’s highest priority applications. Hughes ActivePath™ technology takes application optimization one step farther. No one can tell the Internet how much traffic to manage at a certain time, so it can be tricky to calculate your business needs ahead of the rush. Hughes ActivePath™ allows you to maximize your performance by ensuring that mission-critical application paths are replicated across your network.

The key to getting consistent application performance is to have a secure SD-WAN server that “watches” the Internet carefully for you. If your store begins to violate the amount of capacity that's available with your traffic, the Internet has no choice but to start to find different paths, and that can cause a number of issues.

By preparing for different levels of usage with the available capacity of your network, you can ensure an optimal in-store experience both for your customers employees.

 

About the Author

 
Tim Tang_headshot

Tim Tang helps distributed organizations achieve the promise of digital transformation by sharing ideas across industries and helping customers stay ahead of the ever-increasing pace of change.