CompuCom — Solving Retail IT and Infrastructure Issues to Help Storefronts Seamlessly Expand While Driving Engagement & ROI
Posted: 1.19.18 Innovative Technologies

CompuCom — Solving Retail IT and Infrastructure Issues to Help Storefronts Seamlessly Expand While Driving Engagement & ROI

By: Michael Senecal

The Crunch: Today’s brick-and-mortar retailers know that technology is the key to bridging online and in-store customer experiences and building long-lasting customer relationships. But understanding that an omnichannel demand exists is just the first step. Every retailer’s road to relevance is different, and missed turns can result in costly backtracking and lost momentum. CompuCom has helped seven of the top 10 North American retailers map out their omnichannel future by procuring the right hardware, software, and connectivity solutions along with end-to-end support along the way. Through its consultative services, CompuCom enables brands to anticipate changing consumer needs and drive positive customer experiences without compromising continuity or affecting bottom lines.

The rise of e-commerce has accelerated retail’s pace of change to the point where some multi-generational brands have fallen by the wayside, with new ones emerging to take their place. Competition from both physical and digital channels is increasing, and barriers to entry in this industry are dissolving, giving consumers more choices than ever before.

Photo of Tom Alvey, Senior Vice President of Retail at CompuCom

Tom Alvey, Senior Vice President of Retail at CompuCom, spoke with us about the importance of retailers preparing for an omnichannel future.

What customers expect when they go shopping is changing as well. While the internet has certainly impacted in-store sales, the vast majority of purchases still take place in brick-and-mortar establishments. Customers want to be recognized and receive the same conveniences across shopping channels, no matter what path they take to conversion. When they’re in-store, customers expect a level of personal engagement and immediacy that online shopping can’t match.

Retailers looking to win and retain customers must not only deliver seamless omnichannel connectivity but also leverage their physical assets to make in-store shopping a delightful experience every time.

That’s more than a technological challenge. It also requires an appreciation of the changing needs of the customer, sensitivity to the demands new ways of doing business make on store associates, and the skill and dedication to make change happen — on time and on budget. CompuCom helps those retailers transform their technology without losing sight of what’s important.

CompuCom is uniquely positioned to deliver on those essentials because serving the retail industry has been at the company’s core for more than 30 years. “We’re passionate about retail,” Tom Alvey, Senior Vice President of Retail at CompuCom said. “We focus solely on retail and financial services because we can’t help our clients succeed unless we understand what makes them tick. Retail is innovation, and CompuCom is focused on innovation.”

Understanding retail means understanding the scope of the changes taking place in the industry, and how to transform retail IT from a cost center into a strategic advantage. “We’re excited about the implications of automation, IoT, and other leading-edge technologies on competitiveness in the space,” Tom said. “With our Design Thinking approach, we help sort through those choices by focusing on customers first and then on building solutions around them.”

Robust IT Support Maximizes Uptime and Increases Productivity

CompuCom’s in-store IT support service StoreCare embodies the company’s human-centric approach. More than 6,000 CompuCom-certified field technicians — backed by a service desk delivering enterprise-class IT support — assure continuous operation of critical systems impacting the customer experience, employee productivity, inventory management, security, and operational efficiency.

“Our technicians support more than 337,000 POS devices in more than 57,000 stores in the US and Canada,” Tom said. “About 95% of the time we have a technician within 20 miles of a location, ready to deliver the kind of on-site service that produces a 99.9% uptime rate for our clients.”

StoreCare IT maintenance and monitoring, device lifecycle management, and account management services help retailers enhance the customer experience through improved technology availability and efficiencies that drive shopper engagement.

“We’re also OEM (original equipment manufacturer) independent,” Tom said. “We want to help retailers pick the best components, but we can support any products they want to put in their stores. That’s where our large footprint helps.”

CompuCom also helps IT staffs maximize productivity and redirect the time they spend maintaining assets toward strategic initiatives and improving the in-store experience. With the endpoint automation and lightweight monitoring applications built into its Self-Healing Store solution, CompuCom can detect, diagnose, and even resolve common issues without requiring technicians or support calls.

“The store technologies we support generate revenue for our clients,” Tom said. “If something goes down, it’s not just an inconvenience; it’s a matter of dollars and cents. The proactive elements of our Self-Healing Store offering can fix things before they break so our clients can focus on customers and store performance.”

Providing Technology Services to Help Retailers Deliver Exceptional Customer Experiences

Supporting existing systems is just part of the picture. With MyStore, CompuCom takes the guesswork out of store openings and refreshes, partnering with retailers to deliver precise transitions to satisfy customers and meet business goals.

CompuCom applies its deep project management experience to MyStore, developing a repeatable, scalable process that works as well in 500 stores simultaneously as it does in one. CompuCom starts with planning and strategy consultation and works through procurement, purchasing, and installation. CompuCom maintains a track record of more than 25,000 on-time store openings.

Solutions are modeled in CompuCom’s staging center, where hardware and software are selected, procured, configured, and tested, before being deployed. In-store technologies, such as digital displays and kiosks, are integrated with the rest of the IT environment. The result is that CompuCom takes the testing and discovery out of the store to minimize risk during installation.

“We bring vendors and products together in our staging center and produce a custom solution,” Tom said. “Everything is shrink-wrapped, labeled, and shipped to the stores, about a week before they’re due to open. Installation is the simple part because it’s already been tested.”

MyStore enables retailers to rapidly modify existing stores and build new ones without incurring downtime. “With existing stores, we can work at night,” Tom said. “With new stores, clients need to start serving customers on schedule. Getting those stores up and running on grand opening is critical. That’s what we do.”

Leveraging Cutting-Edge Trends to Build the Stores of the Future

Behind CompuCom’s service and support is its expertise to help brick-and-mortar retailers transform themselves for the omnichannel future.

“Physical stores aren’t going away. They’ll continue to be important to retailers and consumers alike,” Tom said. “But disjointed integrations of in-store and online experiences are dissatisfying to consumers and fail to leverage store assets, including employees, to deliver on the future promise of brick and mortar.”

The best companies view in-store technology as a feature that will keep customers coming back to the physical stores of the future. And CompuCom has the tools to help retailers implement the store of the future. Its deep expertise, coupled with best practices learned from previous projects, means it can bring innovation at a lower cost and with lower disruption to daily operations.

“It’s all about the customer experience, whether it’s in-store pickups and returns or infrastructure for supporting mobile and in-store connectivity. CompuCom can help retailers fill in the gaps, seamlessly integrate legacy systems, and deliver the kind of transparent omnichannel experience customers want.” — Tom Alvey, Senior Vice President of Retail at CompuCom

“We can help retailers choose new devices, such as customization kiosks, digital signage, and interactive mirrors, that work best with a specific operating model, and we can get them up and running and integrated,” Tom said. “Because we’re hardware independent we can keep retailers in line with changing POS concepts while staying focused on the need to free store associates from the cash counter so they can upsell on the floor.”

CompuCom delivers increased network availability and software for data analytics, inventory management, supply/demand forecasting, and cybersecurity. The company can also help retailers choose IoT technologies that deliver a better understanding of client behaviors when they’re in the store.

“It’s all about the customer experience, whether it’s in-store pickups and returns or infrastructure for supporting mobile and in-store connectivity,” Tom said. “CompuCom can help retailers fill in the gaps, seamlessly integrate legacy systems, and deliver the kind of transparent omnichannel experience customers want. And then we can help retailers understand the implications of the data they’re gleaning from all these customer interactions, so they can make their business better.”