When we think about retail as consumers, we think about going shopping, trying on the latest fashions, spending money, treasure hunting and hopefully having a great overall experience. For some of us this is not always the case. We have all been in a situation where going to the local mall, grocery store or department store has taken more time out of our day than we expected—having to wait in long lines, make product returns that seem impossible and cumbersome or walking into our faithful grocery store the town over only to find the entire store experience is different from what we are accustomed to. And we wonder, why is it the same brand, same state, same name and same products but a different experience?
Infrastructure Drives the Retail Store Experience
In order to engage customers, provide exceptional customer experiences and create consistency across a brand, retailers must first recognize the critical role in-store technology plays in the shopping experience. This requires business executives to make key decisions around IT implementations as they look to drive more consistent experiences across locations and create loyal customers. Infrastructure and operation professionals must recognize and educate retail leaders to gain a deeper understanding of how business IT requirements shape the future of in-store technology implementations and how the ability to centralize management and deployments enhance operations and in-store experiences.
The Time Has Come to Modernize Legacy Systems
According to Daisy Group’s 2016 retail report, aging IT is holding back omnichannel innovation and competitiveness. The research found that 69% of retailers believe that complex IT is delaying the speed at which they can trial or implement new store concepts and online innovations. Almost half (46%) of respondents said IT blocks innovation and productivity, while more than two-thirds of retailers (67%) believe outdated IT systems made them less competitive against those retailers with more modern technologies.
As brick-and-mortar stores continue to transform, we are seeing a trend where stores are becoming fulfillment and return locations for digital orders, as well as a place to engage and socialize with friends and family. Ensuring consumer in-store experiences are both inviting and consistent to the brand is critical for the success of a retail organization. Retailers are looking to innovate to stay ahead of the competition and increase customer perception, but they need IT support to ensure the future of in-store customer experience is executed and the right infrastructure is put in place. This takes commitment from the organization to invest in technology to upgrade legacy systems, software and applications to PCs and point-of-sale (POS) systems to drive change.
For example, AudioNova is an international hearing aid provider in 11 countries with over 1,250 locations. The company was looking to provide the best quality of service to their customers across locations. It was very important to have the latest software installed on PCs in order to sell the latest hearing aids and properly measure and fit customers. In the past, PCs were managed from various locations, and users installed software remotely. This gave the organization no control or window to see if the latest software was installed. As a result, the company suffered performance and stability issues, and consumers did not receive consistent experiences from one store to the next.
AudioNova’s challenge was to migrate 4,000-plus PCs and POS solutions from Windows XP to Windows 7 without having to visit the shops or incur downtime in the stores. They wanted to provide an image from a distance that was not hardware dependent. As a result, AudioNova chose VMware Mirage, because the technology could run independently from the hardware and execute an incremental imaging deployment approach.
Another objective was to provide centralized workspace, application and image management. With Mirage, they migrated from Windows XP to Windows 7 and the company’s application from version 3 to version 4 very quickly, with reduced downtime for the stores. Associates can now focus on selling hearing aids and not be disturbed by IT issues. PCs have better performance and are more stable. After the migration, they were using Mirage to manage their workspace environments by deploying the latest updates and giving IT the ability to control the workspace. Watch the full video here.
VMware Mirage for Retail: Remotely Manage, Patch or Upgrade POS Systems & Physical PCs
Retailers need to modernize store operations to create consistent user experiences across store locations and to centralize IT management of POS, applications and desktops to improve workflows.
Part of the Secure Digital Workspace for Retail Powered by VMware Workspace One, Mirage for Retail provides centralized image management for PCs and point-of-service and POS terminals. Dynamic layering and full system recovery enable IT to quickly and cost-effectively deliver updates to operating systems and applications across thousands of endpoints. Simplified patch delivery, upgrades and migrations from a centralized server improves security, helps retailers adhere to Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI) and ensures images are in compliance. Designed for retail store chains and distribution centers, Mirage requires little to minimal infrastructure at remote locations, resulting in decreased capital expenditures.
- Accelerate POS and Operating System (OS) Migrations: Whether you are migrating your POS system due to end of support and related PCI-compliance issues or to implement a new system, Mirage offers comprehensive support for a variety of systems, including Windows Embedded for Point of Service, Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 and Windows Embedded POSReady 7. Mirage also accelerates common desktop migrations, such as upgrading a Windows XP device to Windows 7, upgrading a Windows 7 device to Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 and migrating an end user’s profile and files to a new Windows 7, 8.1 or 10 machine. Before a migration, Mirage takes a full snapshot of the OS or POS system so that IT can quickly restore to a previous state if something goes wrong.
- Centralize Images with Dynamic Layering: With Mirage, IT can manage images across POS terminals, desktops and laptops. Dynamic layering simplifies system and application rollouts. Devices are separated into logical layers so that IT can streamline POS, OS and application layer updates, and end users can maintain their personalized settings on their PCs. This flexible endpoint management technique enables quick updates, migrations and hardware upgrades.
- Automate POS Terminal and PC Backup and Recovery: Whether you need to reimage a desktop or POS terminal, replace a broken hard drive, replace a lost or damaged PC or roll back a malfunctioning terminal or PC to a previously working snapshot, restoration can be difficult. Mirage takes snapshots of an entire device—including the OS, applications, files and personalization—and restores an exact image of the old system to any replacement device. Or you can “clean the image” every night by removing only the changes made during the day. Self-service file recovery and “follow-me” access to files across devices additionally enhances end-user productivity.
- Easily Manage Store and Distribution Center POS Terminals and PCs Without Added Infrastructure: Mirage excels over a wide area network (WAN) by leveraging deduplication capabilities, both in storage and during network transfers. Built-in bandwidth control ensures that network transfers stay within limits across the WAN. Mirage centralizes exact copies of POS terminals and PCs over the WAN and into the data center.
- Extend PC Lifecycle Management Tools: Mirage augments any PC lifecycle management tool. Mirage extends lifecycle tools by providing dynamic layering, backup and recovery and rollback options, lowering help desk and field service support costs, improving backup and recovery and simplifying mass OS and POS deployments. Application programming interface (API) extensibility and an enhanced reporting framework help IT manage PCs and POS terminals more efficiently.
Retailers rely on VMware to stay competitive and maximize revenue with innovative solutions. Mirage offers many benefits for retailers:
- Drive down costs by managing POS terminals and PCs from a centralized location.
- Improve security and PCI compliance for Windows Embedded POS and Windows operating systems by quickly pushing out security patches and updates to vulnerable endpoints.
- Increase uptime by remotely repairing and restoring POS or physical PC images with automated backup and full system recovery.
- Provide consistent experiences across store locations.
“Mirage helped us to seamlessly migrate our point of service devices across 1,250 stores. VMware Mirage enabled a smooth roll out of our mission-critical software, NOAH4. Without this software, we cannot sell the latest hearing aids. Centralized, single-touch Windows 7 migration reduced the time and cost of our project by over 50%.”
—Mark Klerkx, manager of IT infrastructure at AudioNova International
About VMware End-User Computing Solutions for Retail
VMware End-User Computing solutions for retail help businesses maintain their competitive edge and maximize revenue by modernizing store operations, empowering store associates and enhancing customer engagement. To learn more about VMware End-User Computing solutions for retail, visit vmware.com/solutions/industry/retail.html.
Find Out More
For information or to purchase VMware products, call 877-4-VMWARE (outside North America: +1-650-427-5000), visit vmware.com/products or search online for an authorized reseller.