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In today’s tough economy and highly competitive marketplace, businesses are constantly looking for new ways to maintain their competitive edge. Retailers are especially challenged to attract new customers and retain existing ones by putting information at customers’ fingertips to help them make informed purchases. Otherwise, they run the risk of customers using their stores as a show floor for Amazon.com and other online retailers. In addition, businesses must attract mobile-enabled, netsavvy customers who expect ubiquitous social networking touch points. And they must train and retain good employees who lend a strong face to the company brand.
New technologies and applications offer great promise in helping to meet these challenges. Indeed, the trend toward technological innovations will change the landscape of tomorrow’s stores. But as businesses adopt rich, exciting applications such as guest Wi-Fi and customer-facing digital signage, they also need to ensure their networks can keep up with the growing bandwidth and server needs of these new applications.
In January, at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 101st Annual Convention & Expo in New York, Hughes offered a sneak peek into how the “Store of the Future” is already taking shape with new technologies and fully managed services that help boost sales, improve efficiencies, and solve network problems. Here’s what it looks like:
Enhancing the Customer Experience
Interactive Kiosks As customers enter the store, they are greeted by an interactive Digital Sales Associate touchscreen with a way-finder to help them better locate what they are looking for, and an “Ask an Associate” touchscreen to answer questions on demand.
Digital Merchandising Throughout the store, rich-media digital signage supports merchandise displays with dynamic video and graphics that engage and inform customers. Merchants promote brands, specials, and social media tie-ins, easily changing content based on demographics or time of day.
Mobile Marketing Tech-savvy customers enjoy a faster, more engaging customer experience via highly secure Wi-Fi access and rich-media content streamed to their smartphones and tablets. Associates with mobile devices deftly serve customers on the floor.
Improving the Employee Experience
Hughes MediaTraining™ Retailers train employees through engaging video-on-demand and live content, and track program completion to ensure employees have the product knowledge they need. Training content can be easily created and viewed using handheld tablets like the Apple iPad®. Plus, the system doubles as a Digital Bulletin Board when not in use for training.
Hughes Breakroom TV™ Improving employee morale with infotainment, Hughes Breakroom TV entertains and informs employees with live TV and tailored store information such as employee awards and contests.
Digital Bulletin Board Employees get the latest company announcements with the Digital Bulletin Board, which doubles as a training tool at the click of a button.
Strengthening the Back Office
Hughes Branch Cloud Bringing the benefits of virtualization to the remote branch, the Hughes Branch Cloud collapses multiple single-purpose servers into one—reducing power, footprint, and capital costs, and eliminating costly server sprawl.
Hughes Enterprise VoIP With high-quality, business-grade voice over affordable broadband, Hughes VoIP delivers convergence at one-third the cost of typical MPLS solutions. Providing Quality of Service via Hughes ActiveQoS™ technology, the service offers advanced calling features and flat-rate pricing.
Hughes Managed Security Services With PCI-compliant architectures that keep company and customer data secure, Hughes Managed Security Services offers wireless rogue scanning, LAN Segmentation for POS and guest Wi-Fi traffic, and managed firewall, as well as supporting network-within-network configurations for third-party applications. Powering the Store of the Future
“At Hughes, we’ve been fortunate to work closely with many of the top names in retail to build new technology infrastructures that will support the retail experience of the future,” said Doug Medina, senior director of enterprise marketing at Hughes. “These leading companies are always looking at ways to improve the customer experience. Now, with our technological innovations and fully managed services, we are well-positioned to help retailers build their own store of the future—today.”
For more information about the Store of the Future, visit Enterprise.hughes.com/retail.