The retail industry is changing more rapidly than ever before, aside from the lasting impacts of Covid-19. Experiences are multichannel, interactions are as crucial as transactions and customers are continually seeking more engaging, convenient and personalized experiences.
Today, delivering a competitive retail experience requires first-class in-store connectivity.
Networks Simply Being ‘Up’ is No Longer Good Enough
Retail operators are usually supporting a large estate that’s geo-diverse and often international, without IT teams on-site. At the same time, they need real-time visibility to be able to respond swiftly and proactively to consumer and operational needs. Today’s retail IT operations teams need a clear, accurate and real-time picture of in-store service performance, usually from a remote location. This capability enables them to understand how effectively their networks and in-store applications are delivering the seamless experience that customers want and expect.
AI Enables Network Automation and Proactive Maintenance
Marvis, the Virtual Network Assistant™ driven by Mist AI, can help. It can quickly locate a single command-line error across thousands of devices. Normally, locating even two or three wrong lines of code can be like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Marvis not only finds the problem (or problems), it will flag it and can fix it – making the Self-Driving Network™ a reality and allowing the IT team to take their hands off the wheel.
Marvis automatically looks for client-to-cloud anomalies and will capture the relevant packets to provide the information needed to resolve any issues. With Marvis, there’s no need to send engineers out to the store to begin their search on-site. No travel, no time spent on a laptop looking for the problem, no delays, no juggling where members of a small IT team are sent first to address the same problems in different locations.
Need proof? Gap Inc, which operates in 90 countries, has been able to reduce technical staff visits to stores by 85 percent.
And to help IT teams stay one step ahead of hardware issues, Mist AI changes hardware maintenance from a reactive process to a proactive one. It recognizes when a device is about to fail and alerts the IT team accordingly, enabling remediation and avoidance of network downtime.
See the Entire Customer Journey – from User to App
Another significant advantage of the AI-driven network is that IT teams will be able to clearly see not just the intended experience, but the customer’s actual experience – no matter the store or the country they are in. A clear visualization is presented on a custom dashboard, based on target service levels and minimum SLAs.
At Northgate Gonzales Markets – a family-owned grocery chain with 41 stores in California – the number of trouble tickets related to wireless decreased from each month by 75 percent. Kevin Kreucher, director of IT infrastructure at Northgate, attributes the improvement to Mist AI-powered troubleshooting tools. As Kevin says in the case study, “With Juniper Mist, we get so much detail. We can determine the root cause of the problem—coverage, speed, bad access point, or devices—quickly.”
Benefit from an AI-driven Infrastructure on Day One
A key factor in making all this possible is one of the many differences between Juniper Mist and other so-called AI networks. Mist AI (and therefore, Marvis) can be deployed today and brings years of learning with it. It has accrued vast experience over the years, all of which feeds into the decisions it makes today. Put simply, Marvis’ capabilities are unmatched – ‘new’ tech just can’t catch up fast enough. While Mist AI may be new to a particular organization, it arrives as an old head on young shoulders, with a wealth of valuable data and experience in place.
It’s not just retailers that can benefit from an AI-driven network – any kind of service provider can. For example, a mobile network provider was able to roll out to nearly 2,500 retail locations at the rate of 120 sites a week – something that would have been impossible without automation.
“Mist has a huge number of ‘Jedi tools’ to help you understand what’s happening in your network.”
– Kevin Kreucher, director of IT infrastructure, Northgate Market
For any organization that relies on data transfer via Wi-Fi, this kind of automation, reliability and insight represents a significant competitive advantage and enables their teams to meet – and exceed – customer expectations.
In our next blog, we’ll look at network agility, the ability to cope with the speed of change that retail requires and what demands need to be met to deliver optimal customer experiences.
For more information on Experience-First Networking for retail, please visit these resources.