Aruba Networks: Enhancing the In-store Experience for Shoppers and Associates Alike

Keerti Melkote, Co-Founder and CTO
Discussing the challenges faced by retailers in a new landscape shaped by mobility, Keerti Melkote, Co- Founder and CTO of Aruba Networks, says, “Guests are bringing an unprecedented number of mobile devices into retail outlets and they expect comprehensive, reliable Wi-Fi service, as well as mobile tools and apps that enhance their in-store experience. At the same time, retailers want new ways to utilize mobility to improve all aspects of their business, from customer service and sales to inventory and other aspects of operations.”

In a retail world reliant on nurturing close relationships with customers, Aruba is focused on helping retailers build all-wireless environments where secure Wi-Fi infrastructures seamlessly address the needs of customer-facing associates, smart phone-carrying shoppers, and even payment card industry-compliance auditors. “Aruba’s mobility-defined networks allow retailers to deliver the reliable, pervasive Wi-Fi that customers expect. In addition, our Meridian mobile app platform allows retailers to better connect with consumers while they shop in-store. With Meridian-powered mobile apps, retailers can deliver location-based push-notifications and provide shoppers with in-app way finding tools to locate various products and services, enhancing the in-store experience with more relevant promotions based on their location context and preferences,” explains Melkote.

On the operations side of the store, Aruba’s wireless networks allow retailers to move away from static registers. Sales associates can use tablets with mobile POS and inventory apps anywhere in the store to help customers find the perfect item, answer questions, check inventory, and even place orders–all without leaving the customer’s side. In addition, Aruba’s PCI-compliant Wi-Fi and AirWave Network Management System, which delivers network diagnostics, troubleshooting and PCI reporting tools, help protect transactions over the air while speeding check out times.

With Aruba, retailers can consolidate inventory management and other operational functions on the same infrastructure that is used for customer engagement. This unified approach allows retailers to right-size their networks by eliminating redundant devices and applications, delivering a lower TCO.
Further, mobilizing inventory-management workflow allowsdecisions to be made based on up-to-the-minute data. Additionally, retailers can rely on Aruba solutions to support high-definition video surveillance to protect customers, workers, and merchandise—in the store, warehouse, or parking lot.

In the retail sector, Wi-Fi has grown from a back office technology focused more on operations, to a front office technology focused on customer engagement and improving the guest experience

To ease the challenges of on-boarding mobile devices in the retail environment, Aruba’s ClearPass Access Management Solution automatically classifies a variety of wired and Wi-Fi enabled devices based on who they are, where they are, and what device and application they are using. Retailers can then enforce network access and quality-of-service policies for mobile devices to ensure that business applications get priority access to the network. Aruba’s ClearPass Guest makes it easy for shoppers to self-register for in-store Wi-Fi access through a secure, custom-branded captive portal. Shoppers register once and indicate their product and marketing preferences. Retailers can then personalize the consumer’s in-store experience with uniquely targeted push-notification offers based on those preferences.

Melkote emphasizes Aruba’s ongoing focus on retail customer mobile engagement trends and evolving location technologies that help retailers leverage Wi-Fi, in-store location, and mobile apps to increase customer engagement and reduce in-store abandonment. He also highlights Aruba’s keen focus on network security to protect retailers as more devices access Wi-Fi and increased amounts of data travel over the network.

Melkote concludes, “In the retail sector, Wi-Fi has grown from a back office technology focused more on operations, to a front office technology focused on customer engagement and improving the guest experience. Today, Wi-Fi is transforming retail by becoming a revenue-enabling technology.”

Aruba Networks

Sunnyvale, CA

Keerti Melkote, Co-Founder and CTO

Designs and delivers mobility-defined networks