High-speed network powers transformational customer experience.

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Networks, WiFi and Infrastructure

Customer
Dixons Carphone Group

Imagine innovative apps on an in-store wireless tablet. They smoothly guide the sales journey, offer persuasive proof points and find deals to match customers’ exact needs. Now suppose that setup needs more bandwidth than is available to many stores and there’s no time for a network upgrade.

BT Connect Optimisation using InfoVista technology saved us around £1.5 million in network upgrade costs, while the performance of Pin Point was optimised in time for the Christmas peak.

Qasim Ali, Director of Group IT Services, Dixons Carphone Group

That was the problem facing Dixons Carphone Group (DCG) with its Pin Point initiative. The answer was found in BT Connect Optimisation. Using InfoVista technology, the solution prioritised Pin Point traffic, which meant the app was up in time for Christmas. Able to sell more during that peak period, DCG also made significant savings.

Digital innovation throughout the Dixons Carphone store estate helps drive the company’s global growth.

Firing up shoppers’ connected worlds.

When Dixons Carphone Group (DCG) was formed, its ambitions went far beyond consumer retail. “We aim to become a major IT force through our Connected World Services division, providing business solutions and expanding globally,” explains Andrew Harrison, CEO of Connected World Services (CWS) and deputy group CEO of Dixons Carphone.

One such solution is honeyBee technology, which provides the foundation for innovative retail apps. In using honeyBee for its own business, DCG introduced a tablet-based sales tool called Pin Point.

“Allowing us to aggregate information like minutes, text and data – or comparisons between networks – Pin Point sharpens a really good deal for the customer,” says Carl Doran, head of product for Pin Point at Dixons Carphone.

Around 5,000 Pin Point devices have been rolled out to date. Andrew Harrison adds: “Pin Point will soon provide full POS functionality, allowing salespeople to take orders without returning to a till.”

Assuring Pin Point reaches its full potential

Under a five-year contract, BT IP Connect provides high-speed wide area network (WAN) connectivity to all Currys PC World stores and the top 100 Carphone Warehouse stores. However, many Carphone Warehouse locations were still using slower ADSL links.

In-store wireless networks are provided by BT too. These offer mobile connectivity for Pin Point devices and allow shoppers to try internet-enabled devices like TVs.

For optimum performance, Pin Point needed high-speed connectivity to the WAN and the internet, but in Carphone Warehouse outlets with ADSL that would be hard to achieve. “To get the best from Pin Point we were facing a costly network upgrade, so we asked BT for a solution,” says Simon Post, CTO of CWS and group CIO of Dixons Carphone.

BT introduced its Connect Optimisation service based on InfoVista technology, which assures application performance. It prioritises Pin Point data ahead of traffic from live demo stock and other less-critical apps. The effect is like a huge increase in bandwidth without the time and cost of faster network connections.

We were able to install BT Connect Optimisation in one hundred Carphone Warehouse stores in a really aggressive timeframe of less than five weeks.

Qasim Ali, Director of Group IT Services, Dixons Carphone Group

Accelerating a customer experience revolution

The BT Connect Optimisation rollout started prior to the vital Christmas shopping period. “We were able to install BT Connect Optimisation in one hundred Carphone Warehouse stores in a really aggressive timeframe of less than five weeks,” says Qasim Ali, director of group IT services at Dixons Carphone Group.

The results were transformational, giving lightning-fast app responses that ensured a fantastic customer experience. Only thirteen Carphone Warehouse stores needed a network upgrade. “BT Connect Optimisation using InfoVista technology saved us around £1.5 million in network upgrade costs, while Pin Point performance was optimised in time for the Christmas peak,” says Qasim.

The results of the rollout proved the business case. A further 150 Carphone Warehouse stores got BT Connect Optimisation in just three weeks, ready for a major Pin Point advertising campaign in June 2015. By the end of 2015 the InfoVista-powered service will have reached all 800 Carphone Warehouse stores.

BT Connect Optimisation equipment and wireless controllers are hosted at the BT Compute data centres in Sheffield and Birmingham. These centres also provide web access for the stores through BT Internet Connect. Simon Post says “Hosting services at BT Compute data centres gives us maximum flexibility and minimum cost of ownership.”

Since we launched Pin Point into retail we’ve seen a 40 per cent increase in sales conversions. We’ve also seen a 30 per cent increase in our customer satisfaction scores.

Julian Diment, Chief Marketing Officer, Dixons Carphone Group

Soaring business performance and customer satisfaction.

High-speed BT services, combined with honeyBee and Pin Point, are key elements of the company’s strategy to create a digital workforce.

Andrew Harrison says: “Innovations like Pin Point have had a staggering effect on business performance. We’ve already seen better-motivated store colleagues and a highly-positive impact on the in-store customer experience.”

As well as its role in prioritising traffic, BT Connect Optimisation with InfoVista technology gives the DCG IT team in-depth insights into network performance. One advantage is that they can model the infrastructure to anticipate the effects of more innovative apps coming down the line.

Julian Diment, chief marketing officer at Dixons Carphone, concludes: “The results have been incredibly impressive. Since we launched Pin Point into retail we’ve seen a 40 per cent increase in sales conversions. We’ve also seen a 30 per cent increase in customer satisfaction. Our net promoter score, which is how we measure customer satisfaction, is now the highest in our industry.”