The retail industry is undergoing major shifts and changes, and retailers that are able to fluently adapt to changes will be the ones still standing. Value-added resellers (VARs) can help their retail customers meet the needs of the changing marketplace by showing the value of unified communications and collaboration (UCC). As retail migrates and hybridizes from brick and mortar to online, a whole new set of challenges needs to be addressed. Primarily, retail suffers from inventory control and the ability to provide the best product at the lowest price, get the product from the supplier in a simplified manner, and the ability to move into ecommerce. Other issues include slow service, the inability to effectively communicate, and security in buildings.
Here are some of the ways that VARs can describe the benefits of UCC solutions to retailers:
- Agility in Pricing and Inventory Control - Retailers with multiple locations or channels can benefit from the agility that can provide when it comes to keeping costs low and delivering products easily. Because UCC enhances communication through voice, instant messaging (IM), and contact center channels and connects easily to back-office systems, like CRM and inventory solutions, products and pricing are easier to control and track, providing a better consumer experience.
- Broadening Customer Access Through Contact Center Channels - The main thing a customer wants when they contact a company is for someone to help them immediately. According to recent research, 73 percent of business calls head directly to voicemail, resulting in upset customers and wasted time. By using UCC solutions to add channels beyond voice calls, like chat, click-to-call, and email transactions, consumers can contact a retailer in whatever manner they choose and have a better chance of getting help on their first contact.
- Time Savings = Greater Profit - When consumers are able to use UCC automated or Web services in order to get information on a retailer’s hours, directions to their stores, or to reorder items like prescriptions, everyone saves time. This results in greater business productivity, allowing employees to move on to other revenue-generating work in order to improve profit. Consumers are typically happier to be able to use automated and Web applications for quicker access to services as well. Statistics show that using automated voice response systems can save customers up to 15 minutes per day waiting on hold.
- Improved In-Store Service - UCC can help retailers improve customer service by allowing for integration of mobility applications. Employees can use their mobile devices to contact associates in other departments in order to get information on availability, scheduling, or pricing, strongly improving communications, as opposed to using radios or loudspeaker paging systems. Salespeople or service people can use tablets in order to demonstrate products to customers in the store. Mobile applications can be integrated with back-office services in order to provide workers information through text, IM, email, or even video. Customers can also receive emails, IMs, or texts automatically that notify them of an item’s availability, promotions, or shipping timeframes—improving service, especially in the minds of Millennials.
- Store Security - IP video telephones can be used in order to provide basic store security in small retail environments, like jewelry stores. By mounting a camera and speaker at the locked front door, customers can push a button in order to be let in. Employees can view the screen on their phones in order to see and hear who is at the door and then press a button on the phone in order to release the door lock remotely. Employees feel more secure and in control of their business, and anyone with a video phone can attend to the door from their desks. Security systems can also be integrated into UCC layers in order to provide stores information about theft and damage.
VARS that spend time with their retail customers in order to help them uncover their pain points will likely find UCC solutions for their clients that will prove invaluable. As the Millennial generation becomes the biggest part of the consumer market, technology advancements in retail will continue to be in demand, and UCC is a great platform for retailers to use in order to tie communications, networks, and back-office tools together in order to improve business.
Which UCC applications does your company find appeal to retailers? Please comment below.