Posts

Windstream Enterprise and BRP to share insights from latest POS and Consumer Shopping Surveys at NRF 2019

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., Dec. 11, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE)Windstream Enterprise(WE), a leading supplier of advanced network communications announced that it will be exhibiting with its subsidiary BRP, an innovative retail management consulting firm, at National Retail Federation (NRF) 2019—Retail’s Big Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, N.Y. Windstream Enterprise and BRP will be meeting with retailers in booth #4609.

Highlighting this year’s show will be the release of findings from BRP’s much-anticipated 20thAnnual POS/Customer Engagement Survey. The survey of top North American retailers offers insights into retailers’ current priorities and initiatives as digital and physical retail environments converge to facilitate a seamless experience across channels. BRP will also be publishing the insights from its annual Consumer Shopping Survey identifying the latest consumer shopping preferences and trends.

“Today’s retail industry is under increasing pressure to meet customers’ growing demands for faster and a more personalized experience regardless of how they choose to interact with the company,” said Layne Levine, president of Windstream Enterprise and Wholesale. “Retailers who help customers reimagine their place in an increasingly digital world are in the best position to win in the market.”

“We are in the midst of a retail renaissance. The customer journey and associated expectations continue to rapidly evolve – driving a need for retailers to adopt a new mindset to meet their customers’ needs,” said Ken Morris, principal at BRP. “Legacy retail applications and infrastructure at many retail organizations don’t support this new model. Retailers need to reimagine their organization, business processes and technology to align with the real-time demands of their customers. Victory belongs to the agile.”

Many retailers are moving applications to the cloud as it offers the quickest and surest path to seamlessly connect all e-commerce, mobile commerce and in-store POS transactions. In addition, cloud-based applications offer the benefits of speed of deployment, faster software updates, lower software costs and a real-time, single version of the truth. Windstream is  committed to being the retail cloud leader and solving business problems by transforming retail technology to a utility-based model where retailers pay for services and transport based on what they use.

Attendees looking for more ways to connect with BRP and Windstream Enterprise during NRF 2019 can follow @BRPConsulting and @Windstream or search for #WIN4Retail on Twitter to learn more about the latest retail technology trends from Retail’s Big Show. 

About Windstream

Windstream Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications and technology solutions for consumers, businesses, enterprise organizations and wholesale customers across the U.S. Windstream offers bundled services, including broadband, security solutions, voice and digital TV to consumers. The company also provides data, cloud solutions, unified communications and managed services to small business and enterprise clients. The company supplies core transport solutions on a local and long-haul fiber network spanning approximately 150,000 miles. Additional information is available at windstream.com. Please visit our newsroom at news.windstream.comor follow us on Twitter at @Windstream.

PCI Compliance | SD-WAN Concierge™ | Unified Communications | Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) | Secure WiFi & Analytics | Managed Network Security | Hybrid Networking | Professional Services

For more information on Windstream Enterprise, visit http://windstreamenterprise.com

About BRP

BRP is an innovative retail consulting firm dedicated to providing superior service and enduring value to our clients. BRP combines its consultants’ deep retail business knowledge and cross-functional capabilities to deliver superior design and implementation of strategy, technology, and process solutions. The firm’s unique combination of industry focus, knowledge-based approach, and rapid, end-to-end solution deployment helps clients to achieve their business potential. BRP’s consulting services include:

Strategy | Business Intelligence | Business Process Optimization | Point of Sale (POS)

Mobile POS | Payment Security | E-Commerce | Store Systems and Operations | CRM

Unified Commerce | Customer Experience | Order Management | Networks

Merchandise Management | Supply Chain | Private Equity

For more information on BRP, visit http://www.brpconsulting.com.

New Survey Findings Confirm the Digital Lag between Guest Expectations and Current Restaurant Technology

The team at BRP is excited to have sponsored (along with our parent company Windstream Enterprise) a new report titled The Restaurant Digital Crossroads:  The Race to Meet Guest Expectations.  The report was produced by Incisiv and details the research survey findings from 1,225 restaurant guests and 60 restaurant executives.  The central message derived from the findings was crystal clear to all of us – rapidly evolving guest expectations and digital technologies are driving a major transformation across the whole of the restaurant industry.

Looking deeper into the themes the survey data told us, as guest expectations continue to rise, restaurants must transform their business with new, digital-enabling technologies to make the dining experience more seamless and frictionless – period. Unfortunately, many restaurant brands and franchisees (and you know who you are) have a long way to go to catch up to guest expectations. The good news is that restaurants (both brand owners and their franchisees) are increasingly aware of the gap the report calls out, and their short and long-term future plans include enhancements to key areas that guests deem important for a great experience, including easing the of ordering and payment process, adding or improving guest WiFi availability, and mobile POS capability.

Restaurant guests expect (make that demand) a frictionless dining experience that empowers them with relevant, helpful information, all while making it MORE convenient for them to operate on their own time and at their pace.  This requires restaurant operators to embed a broader spectrum of digital technology across the entire dining journey.

As you would expect, the Millennial and Gen-Z consumer demographics have the highest expectations for digital capabilities. The report identifies significant gaps between what younger generations feel is extremely important and what current capabilities many restaurant operators have in place.  Specific examples of this gap from the Incisiv/BRP survey findings include:

Ease of ordering and payment – Guests expect the ordering and payment process to be easy and frictionless.

  • 74% of guests feel it is extremely important
  • 45% of restaurant operators state this capability is operating excellently

Guest WiFi availability – Guests expect fast and free WiFi in restaurants, especially where cell reception is limited.

  • 60% of guests feel it is extremely important
  • 44% of restaurant operators state this capability is operating excellently

Discounts and promotions – Guests expect to receive digital discounts and promotions on any platform they choose, especially their mobile devices.

  • 60% of guests feel it is extremely important
  • 35% of restaurant operators state this capability is operating excellently

There is a lot more data and strategic insight behind the excellent work Incisiv did on behalf of BRP and Windstream Enterprise.  I encourage you to download and read through the entire Restaurant Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Guest Expectations survey findings report:

Download Now

As always, I appreciate your opinions – both on the insight from the report and across the broader restaurant and hospitality space.  Please share your thoughts and opinions below.

Scott

BRP Consulting Introduces New Network Assessment Service to Help Retailers Increase Bandwidth, Improve Reliability and Reduce Costs

In-depth Assessment Simplifies and Optimizes Network Capabilities to Enable Real-time Retail and Enhance the Shopping Experience

Boston, MA – July 10, 2018– BRP announces a new Retail Network Assessment Service to help retailers transform their networks and support the enhanced shopping experiences consumers now expect. Over the last nine years, BRP has helped many retail companies simplify and optimize their network to increase bandwidth, improve reliability, reduce costs and enhance the customer experience. Packaging BRP’s proven best practices and assessment methodology into this new offering enables more companies to achieve the significant benefits of an optimized network.

“Customer expectations are higher than ever and the plethora of new applications retailers are introducing to improve the customer experience put a strain on current bandwidth and create network bottlenecks,” said Ken Morris, principal, BRP. “Slow, outdated networks are not acceptable, as they frustrate and alienate customers and store associates. Now is the time to simplify and optimize the retail network to support the store of the future. One of the first steps is to find and replace plain old telephone systems (POTS) lines, that support non-IT departments like store operations and security, with VoIP to achieve significant cost savings that can fund other initiatives.”

As retailers continue to deploy more applications via the cloud, along with implementing data rich services; a simple, fast, agile, reliable and secure network solution is imperative for a successful transformation to the future store.

With an in-depth assessment of a retailer’s network ecosystem, there are often many ways to simplify and improve performance. By consolidating solutions and implementing SD-WAN, retailers can optimize and increase bandwidth, while providing 100 percent uptime. Through this assessment retailers can realize many benefits:

  • Elimination of plain old telephone service (POTS) lines
  • Significantly increased bandwidth
  • Improved network reliability, capability and diversity
  • Reduction in total network spend

To learn more about BRP’s Retail Network Assessment Services and request an assessment of your network environment, visit: https://brpconsulting.com/network_solutions/

About BRP

BRP is an innovative retail management consulting firm dedicated to providing superior service and enduring value to our clients. BRP combines its consultants’ deep retail business knowledge and cross-functional capabilities to deliver superior design and implementation of strategy, technology, and process solutions. The firm’s unique combination of industry focus, knowledge-based approach, and rapid, end-to-end solution deployment helps clients to achieve their business potential. BRP’s consulting services include:

Strategy | Business Intelligence | Business Process Optimization | Point of Sale (POS)
Mobile POS | Payment Security | E-Commerce | Store Systems and Operations | CRM
Unified Commerce | Customer Experience | Order Management | Networks
Merchandise Management | Supply Chain | Private Equity

Retail Transformation – For the Customer and the Enterprise

XplorexIT– With the flurry of bankruptcies and store closure announcements in 2017 and continuing into 2018, the phrase “Retail Apocalypse” has become the topic of many conversations. The doom and gloom of an apocalypse is very far from reality. However, there is no argument that change, turmoil and disruption is reshaping the world of retail. This article was authored by Perry Kramer, Senior Vice President and Practice Lead at BRP.

There are a number of retailers who are thriving and many more who continue on a successful growth path. The common thread that weaves among these retailers is the leveraging of enterprise software, business practices and view of the customer to improve overall margin and customer service. The stability and elasticity of network technology, including SD-WAN, is allowing retailers to move many store-centric systems to the enterprise level (cloud) to increase effectiveness. For mature retailers, this has resulted in higher customer satisfaction, reduced application costs, and has become the cornerstone for real-time retail.

Real-time Retail
Successful retailers recognize the absolute need to keep the customer at the epicenter of the retail transaction. To achieve this, retailers are migrating to an environment that offers real-time access to enterprise-wide product information, customer preferences, and transaction history across all channels. To meet the new set of customer expectations, modern customer engagement, merchandising, order management, and inventory management systems must be integrated in real-time and seamlessly accessible by the sales associate. Top retailers are adopting and implementing a unified commerce platform based at the enterprise with real-time retail information available at the fingertips of their corporate users, call centers, sales associates and customers.

While retail is definitely going through challenging times, the transformation is exciting with new technologies and opportunities arising to enhance the customer journey and support the expanded use of AI and BI tools needed to optimize the profitability of each transaction. The increased maturity of networks and network tools will continue to bring further transformation and drive fundamental changes in retail. A foundational component of reducing costs, enabling speed-to-market, and meeting or exceeding customer expectations in real-time is the migration of distributed functions to the enterprise. For retailers who are not well into their transformation to offer a ubiquitous real-time retail customer journey, the key to survival is to redouble their efforts before the competition puts them out of business.

Read Full Article: Retail Transformation – For the Customer and the Enterprise

The Future Retail Network Manifesto: Turn your Retail “Not-work” into an Agile Network

Network bandwidth is becoming a bottleneck and retail applications are not performing efficiently. It has become so bad at some organizations, that retail store operations personnel refer to the network as the “not-work.” BRP published “The Future Retail Network Manifesto” to articulate our vision of the future store and identify the challenges and imperatives retailers face in delivering the expected customer experience.

The network is a key enabler of the future store and most retail networks require a transformation to support the plethora of new applications that are putting a strain on bandwidth.

We are in the midst of a retail renaissance, as the way customers shop has transformed the traditional store model. To meet consumers’ demand for the future store requires the adoption of real-time, cloud-based technologies enabled by a powerful network. Retailers can no longer afford to operate with outdated networks.  Now is the time to transform the network to support the store of the future.

Consumer expectations have never been higher and will continue to rise. The digital world offers consumers new ways and “places” to research and shop. These digital possibilities, along with mobility, are raising consumer expectations and forcing retailers to transform and evolve to succeed. The store of the future requires a personal, mobile, relevant, ubiquitous and secure environment to meet these rising expectations.

Success requires retailers to operate in real-time with customer and product information visible and accessible across the enterprise – this necessitates the move to a unified commerce platform supported by a robust, fast, reliable and resilient network.  As retailers move more applications to the cloud, SD-WAN solutions optimize the network performance and ensures 100% uptime.

Retailers that simplify and optimize their network realize many benefits:

  • Elimination of plain old telephone service (POTS) lines
  • Significantly increased bandwidth
  • Improved network reliability, capability and diversity
  • Reduction in total network spend

Download The Future Retail Network Manifesto to learn how to turn your retail “not-work” into an agile network.

Download Now!

As always, I appreciate your opinions on this topic.  Please share your thoughts and feedback below.

Ken

 

Study: The store of the future is digitized, and now it needs a network

Chain Store Age – As retailers infuse more digital features into the store experience, they need robust networks to support their digital offerings.

A majority (79%) of consumers prefer to shop in stores, however mobility is playing a stronger role in these visits. In fact, 29% of consumer plan to increase their mobile shopping experiences in the next 24 months, according to “The Future Retail Network Manifesto,” a study from Boston Retail Partners.

According to data, 41% of shoppers utilize their mobile device in the store to look up product information, and 39% use their smartphone to compare prices and availability with the competition.

As consumers rely on mobile devices to research, communicate and purchase in a non-linear shopping journey, retailers are being forced rethink the networks they use to support the evolving store experience. As retailers make a move toward the store of the future, they need to embrace new network imperatives: simple, fast, agile, reliable, and secure.

“We are in the midst of a retail renaissance, as the way customers shop has transformed the traditional store model,” said Ken Morris, principal, Boston Retail Partners (BRP). “To meet consumers’ demand for the future store requires the adoption of real-time, cloud-based technologies enabled by a powerful network,” he said. “Now is the time to transform the network to support the store of the future.”

Read Full Article: Study: The store of the future is digitized, and now it needs a network

The Future Retail Network Manifesto: Retailers Must Simplify and Optimize their Network to Increase Bandwidth, Improve Reliability and Reduce Costs

The future store requires a simple, fast, agile, reliable and secure network, according to a new report from BRP

Boston, MA – June 21, 2018– According to a new report from BRP, network bandwidth is becoming a bottleneck and applications are not performing efficiently. It has become so bad at some organizations, that retail store operations personnel refer to the network as the “not-work.” BRP published “The Future Retail Network Manifesto” to articulate its vision of the future store and identify the challenges and imperatives retailers face in delivering the expected customer experience. The network is a key enabler of the future store and most retail networks require a transformation to support the plethora of new applications that are putting a strain on bandwidth.

“We are in the midst of a retail renaissance, as the way customers shop has transformed the traditional store model. To meet consumers’ demand for the future store requires the adoption of real-time, cloud-based technologies enabled by a powerful network,” said Ken Morris, principal, BRP. “Retailers can no longer afford to operate with outdated networks. Now is the time to transform the network to support the store of the future.”

Consumer expectations have never been higher and will continue to rise. The digital world offers consumers new ways and “places” to research and shop. These digital possibilities, along with mobility, are raising consumer expectations and forcing retailers to transform and evolve to succeed. The store of the future requires a personal, mobile, relevant, ubiquitous and secure environment to meet these rising expectations.

Success requires retailers to operate in real-time with customer and product information visible and accessible across the enterprise – this necessitates the move to a unified commerce platform supported by a robust, fast, reliable and resilient network.  As retailers move more applications to the cloud, SD-WAN solutions optimize the network performance and ensures 100% uptime.

Retailers that simplify and optimize their network realize many benefits:

  • Elimination of plain old telephone service (POTS) lines
  • Significantly increased bandwidth
  • Improved network reliability, capability and diversity
  • Reduction in total network spend

To download The Future Retail Network Manifesto, visit: https://brpconsulting.com/download/the-future-retail-network-manifesto/

About BRP

BRP is an innovative retail management consulting firm dedicated to providing superior service and enduring value to our clients. BRP combines its consultants’ deep retail business knowledge and cross-functional capabilities to deliver superior design and implementation of strategy, technology, and process solutions. The firm’s unique combination of industry focus, knowledge-based approach, and rapid, end-to-end solution deployment helps clients to achieve their business potential. BRP’s consulting services include:

Strategy | Business Intelligence | Business Process Optimization | Point of Sale (POS)
Mobile POS | Payment Security | E-Commerce | Store Systems and Operations | CRM
Unified Commerce | Customer Experience | Order Management | Networks
Merchandise Management | Supply Chain | Private Equity

For more information on BRP, visit http://www.brpconsulting.com.

 

Retailers Anticipate Merging of Physical and Mobile Retail: Report

Mobile ID World – A majority of retailers are planning to use new technologies to identify customers via their mobile devices and “other emerging technologies,” according to a recent report from BRP Consulting.

The finding comes from a synopsis of BRP’s “2017 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Benchmark Survey”, which found that within three years, 63 percent of retailers “plan to use mobile apps to identify customers in their stores.” With the continuing ascent of mobile commerce through services like Apple Pay and PayPal, and the rising use of mobile devices in general, the survey results suggest that retailers are racing to keep up with consumers who are increasingly glued to their phones.

Elaborating on the findings, BRP suggests that stores need to find a way to bridge the online and physical worlds for customers, such as by enabling interaction with knowledgeable associates, who may be “simply human or a combination of AI and human characteristics”.

Accordingly, technological infrastructure appears to also be a key concern within the survey’s paradigm, with 76 percent of retailers planning “to enhance or replace their network within the next three years.” Commerce is going digital, even in physical stores.

Read Full Article: Retailers Anticipate Merging of Physical and Mobile Retail: Report

All CIOs Want For 2017…Is Unified Commerce

Retail TouchPoints – November 25, 2016 lived up to its name for many retailers, signaling the start of holiday shopping and revenue generation. Unfortunately, for some unprepared retailers these results were disappointing.

Black Friday, along with its digital cousin Cyber Monday, signaled the official launch to holiday commerce and kicked off a season to be jolly for those retailers with a robust technology infrastructure. But it was a Blue Holiday Season for those who did not sufficiently invest in the infrastructure and processes that lay the foundation for a true omni-channel shopping experience.

This holistic and interconnected approach – unified commerce – is increasingly the conduit for delivering a seamless and consistent customer experience across all channels and touch points.
Unified commerce goes beyond omnichannel by enabling a single, holistic platform, combining in-store, mobile, e-Commerce and every other function throughout the enterprise. As such, it is quickly becoming the new retail imperative. While just 18% of retailers have implemented a unified commerce platform, another 57% plan to do so within three years.

Clearly, the presence (or absence) of unified commerce can make (or break) the customer experience – especially during the holiday season.

With the dust having settled from the holiday 2016, here are some insights into what retail CIOs and IT managers have on their wish lists for 2017…and beyond.

  • Unified Commerce Environment
  • Enhanced Mobile Capabilities
  • Virtual POS
  • Robust Network

Like water flowing out of a spigot, customer traffic – whether in-store, online or in-app – is a precious commodity that can pass through a business, never to return, if the resources aren’t there to capture it. Shoppers are in control, and their loyalty is only as strong as their next shopping experience.

Those retailers who remain slow in delivering a unified commerce experience will likely see the impact by the 2017 holiday shopping season – in the form of sluggish sales.

And those who are willing and able to effectively execute on omni-channel services are destined to have Happy Holidays, indeed.

Read Full Article: All CIOs Want For 2017…Is Unified Commerce

EarthLink: SD-WAN Critical for 'True Unified Commerce'

Channel Partners – Retailers need channel partners’ help as they attempt to implement and maintain unified commerce platforms.

That encouragement comes from EarthLink, which has teamed up with Boston Retail Partners (BRP) to launch “a true unified commerce platform.” EarthLink will provide its voice, network and hosting services – including SD-WAN – and BRP will provide consulting and implementation.

Greg Griffiths, EarthLink’s vice president of enterprise and midmarket marketing, says retailers face challenges in attaining unified commerce, due to the hybrid cloud environments they tend to operate.

“They’ve got some applications still in their corporate data centers, but they’re also moving a lot of the new emerging applications to the cloud,” he told Channel Partners. “That creates a real challenge for the wide area network, because the [WAN] – the legacy technology that’s been in place for 20-some years – is MPLS, which sends the traffic from a remote location back to the corporate data center and then out to the Internet or out to the cloud, and that introduces a lot of latency.”

BRP released a survey last month revealing the demand for unified commerce.

The survey found that omni-channel integration is a top priority for more than half (52 percent) of businesses. The majority surveyed – 71 percent – plan to have a unified commerce platform within the next three years; however, only 9 percent have one now.

David Naumann, vice president of marketing for BRP, says most retailers are struggling to achieve a unified commerce platform. That’s because they’re trying to patch together various channels.

“They have legacy systems that were built, in many cases, several years ago on technology that wasn’t designed to integrate different channels into the one system,” he said.

Read Full Article: EarthLink: SD-WAN Critical for ‘True Unified Commerce’