News Release

Cisco Unified Communications for Retail Solution Enhances Customer Experience and Improves Operational Efficiency for Retailers Around the Globe

W.W. Grainger, Hannaford Bros. Co., Mitsukoshi and SUBWAY Restaurants Increase In-store Productivity and Drive to Improve Customer Satisfaction
Sep 26, 2006

NEW YORK, September 26, 2006 - Cisco Systems® today announced its Cisco® Unified Communications for Retail solution to help retailers reduce costs, improve productivity, and provide integrated communications throughout stores, contact centers, and headquarters. Cisco also announced that four retailers have selected the Cisco Unified Communications for Retail solution to enhance customer experience and improve operational efficiency:

  • W.W. Grainger, the leading industrial distributor of facilities maintenance products with 600 branch locations in North America, integrates market-based sales and service call routing to deliver customer service within three rings 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Hannaford Bros. Co., with 147 supermarkets in the Northeast, improves productivity by giving its employees the ability to communicate important information via a touch screen or button while also cutting costs.
  • Mitsukoshi, Japan's largest upscale department store, offers "intelligent fitting rooms" that offer shoppers self-service, IP communications throughout the stores and directly from their fitting rooms.
  • Twenty-six SUBWAY® franchise restaurants, part of the second largest fast-food chain in the world, provides its employees with easy access to cost-efficient, time-saving applications through Cisco IP phones.

"Cisco is establishing itself as a company who is teaming closely with industry partners to offer the Cisco Unified Communications for Retail solution," said Ed Jimenez, Cisco's retail global marketing lead. "With retail customers from various industries and around the globe, we are working diligently to develop solutions specifically designed to help retailers meet their objectives and increase network productivity."

Enhanced Call Routing Accelerates Customer's access to Grainger

Grainger has grown into a leading industrial distributor with over 16,000 employees and more than 1.7 million customers. Grainger's business challenges included integrating its customer service channels, upgrading its communications infrastructure, improving the customer experience, and lowering total costs. Over a five-year period, Grainger upgraded and expanded its intranet and IP network infrastructure, implemented voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) and integrated voice and data systems. "Grainger has achieved consistent, unparalleled, 24/7 customer service experiences across multiple channels and reduced costs while providing backup for peak demand periods at more than 400 branches," said Janice Howse, Grainger's vice president, customer service - phone channel. "Through enhanced access locally and through our customer service representatives in our service centers, we are helping to ensure that we are able to serve our customers when their need arises."Spanlink is a provider of customer interaction solutions that use VoIP-based unified communications technologies. Grainger was able to use the Cisco Unified Communications for Retail solution and the Spanlink® CentralControlTM system to improve the phone-based customer shopping experience by speeding up and simplifying the placement of orders. Now customers enjoy a consistent, world-class experience throughout each call, resulting in improved customer satisfaction and loyalty, giving Grainger a competitive advantage.

Supermarket Streamlines Time and Labor for Employees

With an end-to-end Cisco Intelligent Retail Network designed on the principles of the Cisco Service-Oriented Network Architecture (SONA), Hannaford Bros. Co. has deployed Kronos Inc. time and labor solution available in Kronos for Retail from Kronos Incorporated, the leading provider of workforce management software and services. This allows Hannaford Bros. Co. to lower phone maintenance costs and reduce training expenses for store associates. The Cisco system can also do computer-assisted ordering, inventory access and out-of-stock notification, personnel and operations, and product lookup.

"As a forward-looking, customer-oriented supermarket, Hannaford was looking for a solution that improved employee productivity while cutting costs," said Ed Taggart, manager, network and communications, Hannaford Bros. Co. "Integrating the Cisco solution with Kronos for Retail empowers our employees and gives them the ability to communicate important information with the touch of a button or screen."

Hannaford is also using the security-enabled authentication device from LiteScape so that employees can clock in and out with a simple swipe of their badge followed by a finger swipe for identity validation. This system also allows Hannaford to alert employees of work shift updates and other company announcements and verify receipt of these notifications when employees clock in and out.

Customer Assistance in the Intelligent Fitting Room

Mitsukoshi offers "intelligent fitting rooms" in its large commercial stores that enable busy shoppers to have merchandise delivered directly to the fitting room without needing to exit the room, walk out into the store, and search the shelves. This Cisco "store of the future" solution combines LiteScape's RFID and XML-based applications with Cisco Unified CallManager and IP-based devices to offer shoppers self-service, IP communications throughout the stores and directly from the fitting rooms. Mitsukoshi has already automated and streamlined a number of customer and employee tasks including product browsing, product lookup by stock keeping unit (SKU), inventory checks in nearby stores and the ability for customers to contact live agents to place orders or answer questions.

"The Cisco Unified Communications for Retail solution offers a significant reduction in the time and labor needed to search stock and product information," said Masakazu Nishida, general manager, merchandise planning division, Mitsukoshi Ltd. "It has greatly enhanced both employee productivity and customer satisfaction."

Maintaining a Restaurant's Unique Sense of Culture

By migrating to a fully integrated and highly secure IP communications infrastructure using applications from IPcelerate, a leading provider of advanced VoIP software applications, 400 employees from 26 Arizona-based SUBWAY restaurants now have easy access to a range of cost-efficient, time-saving applications via Cisco IP phones. IPcelerate's integrated voice-data applications include timecard and shift management, customer order improvement, daily store task awareness, and employee safety. The Cisco Unified Communications for Retail solution also links all 26 SUBWAY restaurants with a high degree of security.

"The applications that run on our Cisco IP phones help us maintain our unique sense of culture and communication," said Les White, president, Zeus Nestora, LLC.. "We are able to motivate our staff and empower our employees with the implementation of the applications on the IP phone."

For more information about the Cisco Unified Communication for Retail solution, go to

About Grainger

W.W. Grainger, Inc., with 2005 sales of $5.5 billion, is the leading broad line supplier of facilities maintenance products serving businesses and institutions throughout North America. Through a highly integrated network including nearly 600 branches, 18 distribution centers and multiple Web sites, Grainger's employees help customers get the job done, saving them time and money by having the right products to keep their facilities running. Grainger is the national founding sponsor of the American Red Cross Ready When the Time Comes corporate volunteer training program.

About Hannaford Bros. Co.

Hannaford Bros. Co., based in Scarborough, Maine, operates 147 supermarkets and food and drug combination stores in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Massachusetts. These stores operate under the Hannaford Supermarket and Hannaford Supermarket and Pharmacy names. Hannaford employs more than 24,000 associates. The company is owned by Delhaize Group of Brussels, Belgium.

About Mitsukoshi

Established in 1673, Mitsukoshi group, with 2005 sales of $7.2 billion, continuously aims to be a creative retailer that always provides innovative merchandise and superior service to customers with traditional principle of "The Spirit of Sincerity" and "Always together with the Customer." For over three centuries, Mitsukoshi has been ranking high among the renowned department stores in Japan and receiving great favors from customers worldwide. In addition to its extensive network in Japan with 15 stores, Mitsukoshi operates 24 stores overseas throughout Asia, Europe and the United States. For more information about Mitsukoshi, visit


The SUBWAY restaurant chain is the world's largest submarine franchise, with more than 22,800 locations in 81 countries. The chain is also the second-largest fast-food chain in the world. For more information about the SUBWAY restaurant chain, visit