Perfumes e Companhia is the largest perfume retailer in Portugal, with 150 brick-and-mortar sites. But today’s customers demand great flexibility in how they explore and purchase products, whether in-store, at home, or on a mobile device.
So, the company embraced digital transformation in a big way. It has served them well through a global pandemic and supply chain challenges. Supporting a flawless customer journey is at the heart of everything the company does.
“The goal is to create seamless experiences and make the customer feel comfortable, regardless of how they interact with us,” said Diogo Caldeira Pinto, CIO of Perfumes e Companhia.
To do that, the company needed a technology foundation that was secure, scalable, and future-proof. In the online realm, for example, the company was exploring new ways to interact across social media, while contending with big traffic spikes on important shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In-store, it needed to enable seamless shifts from mobile devices to in-person experiences.
The company started with designing a new rewards app that would engage customers while also generating important customer data. For this to be operational, a secure, powerful WiFi solution was needed in-store, which would ride on a solid network infrastructure.
“We already had a trusted IT partner that we could turn to: Cisco,” Caldeira Pinto said. “All of our essential infrastructure is based on Cisco Systems. With our ongoing focus on technology and innovation, we made a large investment in our data center. We required scalable and flexible infrastructure, and we began there.”
For WiFi solutions, Perfumes e Companhia turned to Cisco Meraki, drawn to its robust security, expanded control over the customer network, and remote-management capabilities.
These Meraki solutions expanded to include a large new fulfillment warehouse.
“We had a WiFi infrastructure there that could not handle the capacity we needed,” he said, “and there was a conflict between the access points. By installing Cisco Meraki, we’ve been able to stabilize the whole infrastructure.”
Of course, cybersecurity is paramount in any retail environment, whether virtual or brick-and-mortar. One key to Perfumes e Companhia’s security was Meraki’s segmentation solution, which prevents a potential breach from spreading to other networks or systems.
“In retail locations, segmentation is vital,” Caldeira Pinto said. “We begin with an open WiFi for customers’ WiFi-enabled devices when they enter a store. We also have several hidden networks — for our staff’s usage — running throughout the store. This segmentation is important for us so we can ensure that the app traffic that comes from the clients is completely separate from the rest of the infrastructure. This segmenting also adds a layer of security to our WiFi infrastructure and operations.”
As the pandemic highlighted; remote management of IT systems is more important than ever. For security, usage spikes, or any other issue that arises, Caldeira Pinto’s team can respond from anywhere at any time.
“It’s also important that we can centrally manage the infrastructure to identify potential problems and configure those resolutions remotely,” he said. “All of this is managed by just three IT staff members. From one dashboard, they can monitor security and performance, while remotely resolving almost any issue that arises.”
With a solid foundation in place, Caldeira Pinto looks forward to new innovations that will enable the company to meet challenges and evolving customer demands.
“By using technology to reconnect with the customer before they approach us in the store,” Caldeira Pinto said, “we’re being proactive and helpful, rather than reactive and unaware. Technology is helping us create our dream customer journey.”