Blog » Retail Industry: Achieving Unified Commerce with SD-WAN
Retail Industry is becoming omnichannel with both online and brick and mortar as important business channels. The advent of new-age technologies and digital capabilities have increased customer expectations throughout their customer journey. Every touch-point along the customer journey is now an opportunity for the brand to build customer relationships in turn driving sales and revenue. Unified commerce with SD-WAN helps in improving the customer experience not just across the digital channels but also at offline consumer touchpoints.
The definition of unified commerce lies in leveraging the Brick and Mortar –Department Stores; Discount Stores; Supermarket; Warehouse Stores; Mom and Pop Store; Specialty Stores; Malls – and eCommerce platforms together from one single platform.
A unified commerce platform is not simply the future in-store or Web platform but combines in-store POS, mobile, Web, order management and call center into one integrated platform. This allows a single view of the customer’s journey with the brand across all touch-points.
In most cases delivering seamless personalized customer experience is the key differentiator for retail businesses and the crucial element that drives customer loyalty. Delivering great customer experience is not only about improving the experience at a single touchpoint like the experience provided by the front-line employees at stores. It’s about redefining the entire retail mechanism and providing a seamless experience across all touch-points along the customer’s journey with the brand.
Hence retailers today are mapping customer journeys in a comprehensive way to identify key triggers at the moment of purchase or decision-making process. Digital experience becomes crucial to delivering an overall great customer experience with the brand. Also, in-store experiences are impacted by the underlying infrastructure by the amount of time taken by enterprise applications like POS etc, and with the new technologies used by retailers, all requiring devices to be “online”.
With all factors in mind, retailers today are transforming their IT systems, processes and network infrastructure to provide a seamless digital experience. This involves making supply chain functions fast, secure, and reliable e.g. like those in merchandising area, warehouse management, logistics fulfilment, returns management, and distributed order management.
All functions that require real-time visibility. Moreover, order management solutions, payment options, real-time data and analytics solutions, cloud-based services make retail network infrastructure a crucial consideration. To successfully operate in an omnichannel, world retailers today require an agile, flexible secure and a “Smart Network”
Today network is the key to unified commerce. While more cloud-based applications and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications are being consumed by retailers, the importance of a hybrid cloud environment is growing. This is where the underlying networking infrastructure starts to play a major role, especially where both private and public cloud is used in a Hybrid model.
MPLS is slowly becoming a legacy technology which will no longer be able to keep pace with the demands of the Cloud Era. The Network may just start becoming the bottleneck. SD-WAN or Software-Defined WAN is the new technology that is emerging as the best alternative to MPLS to ensure a faster and simpler network, which is scalable.
This is the correct time for retailers to transform their business, process and infrastructure in order to innovate the customer journey.
Retail Industry is increasingly finding present WAN architecture slow, rigid and expensive. To respond effectively and efficiently to digitization, SMART stores require SMART WAN. Unified Commerce with SD-WAN can enable the Retail industry with a leaner, faster, safer, and flexible IT Infrastructure. The network in turn enables better operational efficiency across enterprise applications making sure the retail industry is equipped with the right technology and tools to deliver an exceptional customer experience.
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