A few years ago, in-store traffic was down at Beacon Lighting, the leading lighting retailer in Australia, which prompted the brand to seek new ways to engage its customers.
The challenge: Lighting didn’t seem to have a compelling e-commerce use case.
“You really need to see it, see how it lights up the walls,” said CIO Mick Tan, speaking at NRF 2019: Retail’s Big Show, taking place in New York City from Jan. 13-15.
But with in-store traffic declining, the company knew it needed a new approach to attracting customers — not to mention that its IT infrastructure was lacking. There was no DSL redundancy, and better connectivity was essential to improve the in-store customer experience.
Beacon found the answer in SD-WAN — software-defined wide area networking — which delivered the cross-channel digital transformation the retailer was looking for.
Digital Transformation Enriches the Customer Experience
SD-WAN turned out to be the catalyst for Beacon Lighting to offer new and valuable experiences to its customers. Once adopted, the technology helped the company bring multiple transport links into the store to offer the redundancy and additional access points needed to implement new in-store tech.
For example, with the new infrastructure, the company was able to demonstrate smart lighting, which allows users to adjust the brightness or color of light using only voice commands.
“We put in each of our stores a place where we can use Google or Amazon voice activation to demonstrate smart lighting,” said Tan.
The company also was able to set up a “design studio” in each of its stores, where store associates can tap design software to demonstrate how a specific lighting fixture might look in a room.
“This is something none of our competitors are doing,” said Tan.
Moreover, the tech upgrade has helped the organization set up new stores more quickly.
“Before, when you set up in a new area, you couldn’t get internet in time to open your store,” said Tan. But by adopting SD-WAN from Riverbed Technology, new branches are able to tap cellular instead, so they aren’t reliant on the DSL pipeline.
As the company continues to exploit its new capabilities, it’s turning its attention next to augmented reality and 3D visualization.
“Customers will be able to come in and see exactly how lights will look in their own room,” said Tan. “That will be a big step for us.”
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