Succeeding in today’s highly competitive retail business environment is tougher than ever. The way consumers shop, interact and communicate with brands has changed dramatically and there is added pressure to uphold the first-rate customer service that consumers have come to expect.
In a retail environment, there are multiple sites and channels over which customers and employees communicate. By leveraging unified communications (UC) to streamline tasks at various points of customer contact, retailers can improve employee productivity and customer satisfaction. Customers are more likely to return to businesses that have exceeded their expectations and offered them something different.
UC solutions integrate voice and data, allowing retailers to combine an array of wireless technologies and devices. This fully integrated approach enables staff to engage in more tailored and better quality interactions with customers. A large clothing store chain, for example, can leverage portable handsets to allow employees to access inventories, compare competitor prices and access product information at other store locations, in real time without leaving the sales floor. Grocery stores can tie RFID technology into their rewards programme databases to track customers’ purchasing habits.
Tools such as chat, voicemail and mobility can help sales people stay in contact with customers and vendors anytime, anywhere. UC provides the full integration of communications with other systems such as CRM, EPoS and CCTV. ‘Click and collect’, buy online and return in store are all ways that businesses provide the customer with multiple ways to transact in the most convenient way possible.
The mobile experience
We expect to be able to shop 24/7 from our smartphones or tablets, but we also want the experience to be functional, reliable and seamless. By integrating mobiles with backend systems, and allowing cross-channel consolidation, your systems are able to speak to each other and deliver valuable information in the form of email, text, voice or even video.
UC encourages and empowers employees to communicate with each other, whenever and wherever they need to. It enables sales associates to get in touch with product experts by viewing their availability through presence, and answer the most difficult customer questions on the spot, through instant messaging, VoIP or video conferencing.
UC is an investment that retailers cannot afford to miss out on but many are still relying on legacy systems and outdated retail technology. UC can enhance every level of the purchase cycle, to improve the customers’ shopping experience and ultimately drive loyalty.