With the advent of new technology, the retail arena has extended well beyond the confines of the traditional store in recent years, dramatically changing the dynamics of the industry. Xerox helps retailers to provide the seamless, consistent experience that today’s consumers demand, whether they are researching or purchasing items in a store, online, on a smartphone, via social media or by talking to a contact center representative.
While new technology enables retailers to increase productivity and enhance the customer experience, managing this technology – and effectively utilizing the realms of data that it produces – presents a number of significant challenges.
“New technology creates a lot of complexity and it’s full of requirements. Any time the retailer cannot support themselves, they look to Xerox retail services to support all this technology,” says Paul Wolf, director for Retail and Consumer Products at Xerox.
A global leader in infrastructure management, procurement and contact center solutions, Xerox boasts 25 years of retail industry experience and currently provides retail services for clients in 42 countries. It has 1,500 employees dedicated to the retail industry and manages over 450,000 devices and processes in excess of 1,000,000 service tickets on an annual basis.
Leveraging its considerable resources and experience in infrastructure managed services, Xerox aims to deliver the specific services and scalable solutions that retailers require to lower costs, improve service and speed up time-to-market.
“We’ve seen an increase in requests from the retail community at the store level for two main reasons: omni-channel retailing and the retailers’ desire to enhance the experience of their customers. These are the drivers of change with the retail industry today,” Wolf says.
“Customers are using all channels. With omni-channel the goal is to provide a seamless experience. So if they start in one channel and they finish the transaction in another channel they get the same experience,” Wolf explains. “It’s the underlying technology superstructure that makes that work and we manage that for our clients. Whether it’s at the stores or online, we touch all bases.”
Xerox is responsible not only for supporting the seamless delivery of information across all of its clients’ channels, but also for quickly processing and leveraging the information gleaned from these channels. In addition to offering consistent multichannel convergence, retailers also require Xerox to ensure that all of their digital channels are always ready to support customers and sales staff in any circumstance or location, so as to guarantee that they never miss a potential sale.
To meet all of its clients’ varied needs, Xerox’s service portfolio is divided into four specific categories: Store Solutions, Digital Solutions, Analytics and Core Solutions.
Customized Store Solutions
Xerox claims to be unique because, despite its size, it has the capacity to scale down to the individual store level, unlike most of its competition. Furthermore, because it is an integrator, not a product manufacturer, Xerox has the flexibility to pick the best-of-breed products to meet any client’s specific needs.
“What differentiates Xerox from its rivals? I think our ability to proactively manage the technology and reduce the number of issues that take place at store level,” Wolf says. “There are often unique requirements in the use of technology within each store. When we are supporting a retailer we have detailed, intimate knowledge at a store level of their routine and what brand they’re representing.”
Store Solutions are run from Xerox’s Retail Store Command Centers, which serve as centralized services and support systems for various in-store technologies. The aim is to provide the technology and responsive support that stores need, whenever they need it.
Within each Retail Store Command Center is a Store Support Center, a comprehensive help desk for problem management and issue resolution. Its capabilities include remote system monitoring and asset management, and there is a multi-language hot line that in-store employees can call in case of technological malfunctions at their store.
Other store solutions include Store Device Management, to ensure the operating software of in-store devices is software updated, maintained and performing at optimum levels; Virtual Test Environments, secure clouds where clients can test labs to increase or decrease capacity as needed, in an agile, on-demand model; and eLearning, a customized, online, self-paced training program for store employees on handheld devices, scanners, new point of sale (POS) solutions and other technologies.
Xerox also provides Telecom Expense Management, Store Network Management and Store Traffic Flow Monitoring, enabling retailers to maximize efficiency and productivity while minimizing costs and risks.
Digital Solutions and Analytics
Xerox’s Digital Solutions include eCommerce Hosting, a means of securely managing and monitoring eCommerce sites to ensure availability, high performance and maximum uptime; Mobile and Social Strategy, in which the Xerox consulting team helps develop and execute effective channel strategies; and Mobile Payment Solutions, which enable sales staff to bring POS devices to in-store customers, thus eliminating lines and enabling customers to pay for their purchases anyway they want.
Xerox also uses analytics to help its clients to make sense out of the mountains of data generated in the new, omni-channel, customer-centric world of retail. Xerox sifts through all of the structured and unstructured data from various channels, putting it in one place and applying the right analytic tools and predictive modeling so that retailers can more clearly understand patterns, preferences and buying habits. This information provides clients with the necessary insight to more accurately price product, stock inventory, choose new store locations and push the right offers to the right customers at the right time.
Xerox’s Analytics Solutions include Store Operational Dashboard and Key Performance Indicators, for instant insight into store performance, daily sales and other critical data; a 360 View of the Customer, to provide a clear picture of individual customers’ behaviors, channel activity and response to marketing offers; and Advanced Fraud Detection technologies to prevent loss by blocking fraudulent purchases at the point of sale.
Worldwide Core Solutions
Xerox specializes in designing, developing and delivering flexible IT solutions, mapped to the needs and standards of individual clients. It has 15 highly secure data centers and seven Retail Store Command Centers with built-in redundancy, so that in case of an outage all operations are virtually transferred to a backup center, with minimal, if any, interruption to clients’ stores and back-office operations.
“We have seven retail command centers around the world: three in the United States, one in Mexico, one in London, one in China and one in the Philippines. We support over 18,000 stores throughout the world and manage over 450,000 devices in those stores,” Wolf says. “We are in most of the major countries throughout the world. We have a presence and understanding of business infrastructure in all of those countries, in North America, South America, Europe and the Asian Pacific. This gives us a unique capability to support all of these businesses throughout the world. Very few, if any, of our competitors can say the same.”
Among its core solutions, Xerox offers IT Consulting Services, Application Services Management and Technology Infrastructure and Transformation Services, to help clients mitigate risk, drive down costs, deploy new applications and manage mainframe and midrange servers, enterprise storage, desktop outsourcing and network services. Other solutions include Virtualization and Cloud, which enable retailers to increase bandwidth, storage and server capacity by optimizing resources within their IT infrastructure; and Enterprise Cloud, a web-based, self-provisioning tool that allows clients to alter server, storage and network capacity on demand, thus lowering costs and reducing procurement times from weeks to hours.