The impact of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic forever changed the retail industry. From in-store operations and supply chains to labor and customer engagement, nearly every aspect of business saw challenges which required retailers to respond with agility, innovation, and in many cases the right technology.
Harnessing Cloud Technology to Win SMB Retail Business
Why consider a retail cloud solution? Now more than ever, retailers need to consider optimizing communication channels to ensure employees can safely interact with customers while ensuring a positive experience, whether it be in store, online, during curbside pickup, or upon delivery. Most retail facilities need employees to carry multiple devices to support customers while remaining in communication with colleagues. Additionally, staff can be difficult to reach when away from their stations or on the floor. Business cloud communications solutions break down communication barriers and provide retailers access to detailed data they can leverage to drive increased customer satisfaction and revenue opportunities.
With the proliferation of mobile devices, high-speed wireless internet, and productivity enhancing applications have made access to data and information easier than ever. Is your organization seizing the opportunity to win retail business?
Top 6 Drivers for a Retail Cloud Solution
While there are substantial benefits that span from CFO to the retail customers, the below statistics make it clear that enabling retailers, and their employees, with a retail cloud solution is the key to winning business, exceeding customer expectations and more.
Top 5 Benefits of Leveraging a Retail Cloud Solution
- Turn Associates into Store Experts. Half of millennials believe they typically know more about a store than store associates do. As a result, 40% of shoppers say they go online to avoid ill-informed staff. Employee-facing mobile devices and communication tools can help prevent these common problems. By giving associates real-time access to product and inventory information, with a retail cloud solution enabled mobile device, they can gather customer feedback, accurately check inventory, reach other departments, send out alerts, and upsell.
- A Retail Cloud Solution Simplifies Operations. Managing disparate systems and technology across multiple locations can be a frustrating, time consuming, and a major expense — not only to end users, but also service providers who are the first line of contact for support, which increases the negative impact across both organizations. With an established retail cloud solution, administration is centralized in the cloud, freeing up IT and operations staff to work on other projects. Administrators can add and remove users, manage provision settings, and update softphone clients easily and efficiently. Users simply log in with a unique ID (email address, employee number, or store location) and they’re ready to make calls. In addition, a retail cloud solution is intended to overlay on existing infrastructure, meaning service providers or end users with aging premise-based equipment can leverage the cloud platform to transition their communication solution to a cloud PBX platform without interrupting service.
- Retail Cloud Solution: Provide Better Customer Experiences. Today, no fewer than 73% of customers believe they are more informed than sales associates. Why? Because they can jump online at any time using Wi-Fi or their cell network — even while in the store — to look up product information, promotions, discounts, and comparative pricing. By not allowing retail employees access to the same data customers have, retailers lessen their efficiency, lower their reputation, and diminish sales opportunities. A retail cloud solution, ideally with a softphone client, enables retailers to provide fast, intuitive service to their customers by removing communication barriers within the organization. With 60% of shoppers saying store associates who use mobile devices for customer assistance improve their shopping experience,* communication tools on either personal or corporate mobile devices would further improve the experience by providing retail employees access to information faster and more efficiently.
- Customize and White-Label a Retail Cloud Solution. Carrier-grade retail cloud solutions are frequently white-labeled, which allows service providers to brand and customize it by selecting specific features, settings, colors, and graphics, to create a tailored, one-of-a-kind solution that meets the unique needs of their end users. From enabling call transfer capabilities or call recording, to adding a company’s logo and corporate colors, to selecting specific audio codecs to ensure optimal call quality, white-label retail cloud solutions offer service providers the greatest range of customization.
- Break Down Communication Barriers. A retail cloud solution provides service providers a product that can be deployed to retailers of any size, at any location, ranging from single retail locations to national and international chains, or even department-specific locations like a store, office, warehouse, and contact center. Retail cloud solutions with tools like voice and video calling, messaging, and mobile apps enable retail staff to reach anyone the organization, anytime, regardless of their location. In addition, by integrating a retail cloud solution on devices retailers, and their employees, already use the business retains access to critical business data and functionality, all while increasing the ROI for the company.
Equipping Workers with a Retail Cloud Solution
Who benefits? It is not only the service provider and retailer that benefit from leveraging a retail cloud solution. The benefits ripple throughout the organization.
- Operations: Goods and services need to be available with accurate inventory count in multiple channels (in store, over the telephone, online, in-transit etc.) — with UC enabled mobile devices, retailers can optimize product replenishment, and streamline or automate inventory ordering, which frees up staff for other tasks and reduces shelf gaps by up to 30%.
- Point-Of-Sales (POS): In the past, a customer might have waited five minutes at checkout. Today, they are likely to tolerate less than two minutes. Speed and accuracy are critical to the customer experience — and a business’s bottom line. Minimize checkout times, speed up loyalty program enrollment, or complete transactions from anywhere in the store.
- Warehouse: High performance scanners allow associates to validate every item packed into small consumer shipments, eliminating shipping errors, missed shipments, and the corresponding loss in profile margin. Convert the traditional replenish walk, price markdown, cycle count, and new picking tasks into a single workflow to reduce the associated foot traffic. In fact, 61% of employers report mobile access improves productivity.
- Floor Associates: Enabling staff to be mobile allows easy access to information about products, prices, promotions, and stock data, so they can provide expert and accurate sales support and accept payments from anywhere. These effortless transactions between customers and floor associates enrich the shopping experience, creates brand loyalty, and differentiates the retailor from its competitors.
Business Cloud Communications: The Service Provider Built Retail Cloud Solution
Alianza’s Business Cloud Communications (BCC) is an all-in-one voice, communication, and
collaboration solution that enables teams to talk, chat, meet, and share across their devices. BCC offers 3 tiers of service, offering a range of functionality, and combines next-gen cloud PBX technology. With easy-to-use applications and cloud management tools, your customers are able to easily deploy and scale a business communication solution to meet the needs of their
- Customer Stickiness: All-inclusive communication solution with predictable monthly costs, easily bundled with your existing solution suite.
- Eliminate CAPEX: No upfront CAPEX needed with our cloud-based SaaS model.
- Reduce Risk: Cloud-based solutions provide flexibility and scalability. Scale seats up and down as needed for your customers.
- Rapid Time to Market: Remote deployment and provisioning, regardless of your customers’ location, devices, or existing infrastructure.
- Streamline Operations & Centralized Management: The Voice Portal provides a streamlined interface for your customers to self manage their services, including the ability to load, configure, and manage end users.
BCC offers Standard, Advanced, and Professional packages, to meet the needs of your business customers. Whether they simply need phone services or want to enhance communications with mobility and collaboration tools, one solution does it all. In addition to auto-attendant, extension to-extension dialing, customizable calling plans, and advanced call handling features, BCC also offers Cymbus™ apps for desktop and mobile devices for communications mobility, and collaboration tools for team messaging, video conferencing, and screen sharing.
To learn more about how a Business Cloud Communications, talk to a Alianza representative today.
Learn more: A service provider purpose built solution that enables you to address the growing demand for VoIP and cloud communications services.
Sources: CDW, CFI Group, Zebra