The way commercial buyers and consumers shop, interact and communicate with brands is undergoing a massive transformation. Global risk management firm Euler Hermes calls the phenomenon a “consumer experience challenge” and finds that omni-channeling – providing customers with a seamless shopping experience whether online, by phone or in a physical store – will be critical to every retailer’s success in the years ahead. For proof, look no further than Amazon Go, a cashier-less brick-and-mortar grocery store – they’re so focused on streamlining the customer experience that they don’t care if you accidentally shoplift.
Of course, this isn’t news to retailers who must contend with, and adapt to, these changes on a daily basis. Most are doing all they can to adjust to these realities, yet many are hamstrung by dated communications systems that don’t stand up to rapid marketplace changes. Some stakeholders, scarred by the challenges of selecting and paying for those legacy systems in days past, are less than excited about the prospect of rolling up their sleeves to find replacements. However, once they fully learn about the power and affordability of hosted unified communications (hosted UC) in retail environments, they quickly move that old equipment out of the building and onto Craigslist.
That’s because hosted UC is:
Fully-loaded hosted UC solutions, like TPx’s UCx, integrate phone systems with back-end systems and applications, including CRMs and databases, so they can “converse” to deliver valuable information to service reps and customers alike. This integrated approach opens up all kinds of possibilities for retailers to provide omni-channel interactions and enrich customer experiences. All of today’s popular communications channels – voice, video, email, and chat – are integrated into the platform so service reps don’t have to exit and open new applications to respond to customer inquiries.
Personalization and Relationship-based Retailing
CRM-integrated hosted UC allows retailers to shift effortlessly between physical and digital engagements, which helps them transition from a focus on transactional-based retailing to relationship-based retailing (the future). Based on a customer’s caller ID or guest ID number, buying history and other relevant information can be quickly pulled onto a single screen to offer a more personalized experience to customers.
With little or no up-front costs and an affordable pay-as-you-go model, hosted UC solutions provide retailers with voice, video, messaging and collaboration tools (from any device, anywhere) that are necessary to meet the demands of omni-channeling without breaking the bank.
Hosted UC allows retailers to start small, deploy and move resources where needed, pull back once a sale concludes, or scale up to open a new store or prepare for a seasonal spike in demand. In contrast, a traditional phone system can be costly and complicated to expand, since it only supports a fixed number of employees.
Never Out of Date
Hosted UC providers like TPx are constantly modernizing their platforms, ensuring that retailers always have the most advanced functionality and features. That means retailers never have to worry about making additional investments in their communications infrastructure to stay current with marketplace demands.
The bottom line is that the right hosted UC solution can deliver the affordability and flexibility needed in today’s increasingly complex retail environment. Whether it’s one retail location or a chain of stores or restaurants, hosted UC can integrate all communications functions and features to help retailers operate more efficiently while avoiding costly upgrades, maintenance and on-site support. More importantly, UC is really about the end-user experience, helping retailers deliver smoother, streamlined services both in-store and digitally. Customers are more likely to return to retailers that have exceeded their expectations and offered something fresh.
Even if you don’t have billions of dollars at your disposal like Amazon, you don’t have to let expensive legacy equipment hold you back… our UCx experts are just a click away.