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“In-store WiFi and tablets cater to our customers' every need.”
The network requirements of Caroline Biss’s 15 Belgian branches have evolved quite a bit over the last decade. Customer expectations have changed as well and, consequently, this also goes for the service Caroline Biss expects from its telecoms partner. The fashion brand has been working with Orange for many years, both for fixed and mobile telephony as well as for internet. We spoke to Laurent Coucke, IT Manager at Caroline Biss.
Real-time sales figures
“In the old days we had 10 stores with a dial-up connection,” Laurent Coucke remembers. “At night the head office would call the cash registers in the various stores to download the sales figures.” It is then that Caroline Biss decided that the cash registers had to be connected to HQ at all times so the store chain would have real-time sales figures at its disposal at all times. “At the time, we looked for a solution and considered all possible partners. After a thorough analysis we opted for KPN Nederland, which later became Mobistar and, ultimately, Orange.”
Meanwhile Caroline Biss’s network requirements have evolved. For instance, the cash register software now takes up more bandwidth. The stores also use more display screens. “Back in the day our camera system was an autonomous network. Now the system taps into the same network connection as the rest, so we can always watch the camera images at HQ,” Laurent Coucke explains.
In-store WiFi and tablets
“Our contract with Orange includes everything: both fixed and mobile telephony, as well as internet,” says Laurent Coucke. “The shops are interconnected via an IP VPN network. Every store has a VDSL internet connection.”
“We’ve always had an excellent working relationship with Orange,” Laurent Coucke notes. “They are always at our beck and call, not just our account manager but the technical staff as well. The helpdesk notifies us in advance when they see we are faced with an issue. And if I run into a problem, I can always call the project leader at Orange for a swift solution.”
Every Caroline Biss now has WiFi so customers can browse the website while shopping in the brick and mortar store. Every shop also has iPads for customers, or for their husbands and children. Compared to a few years ago, Caroline Biss now also uses larger mobile data volumes, Laurent Coucke continues. “Our sales representatives now have an iPad so they can show our products to the stores.”
Caroline Biss is a happy customer
Last year the contract was up for renewal and, once again, Caroline Biss compared the offer of several telecoms providers. “This time, too, Orange stood out as the most interesting solution so we decided to renew the contract,” says Laurent Coucke. “Moreover, in the years since we’ve been working with Orange there have never been major issues, and we’ve never been confronted with hard technical barriers. In other words, we were very satisfied and there were no reasons whatsoever to switch telecoms partners.”
In addition, Caroline Biss is currently installing a mobile backup connection in five of the larger stores. “This way they can always be reached and the cash registers remain operational at all times,” Laurent Coucke explains. “If the implementation goes according to plan and we find that the mobile backup connection offers added value, we may also equip the other branches with a backup connection”.
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