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How to achieve efficiency savings in the competitive retail industry

Retailers haven’t got it easy in 2018.

Not only are business costs rising and consumer spending being squeezed, retailers have found themselves facing fiercer competition than ever from multi-channel shopping.

Retail brand reputation, not to mention customer acquisition and retention, depends on being able to deliver a seamless and convenient experience across a range of channels. So, how can retailers achieve efficiency  savings within today’s tough business landscape, while remaining competitive and delivering that consistent brand experience to their customers?

Bolstering their digital presence

Despite all the economic unknowns – like rising interest rates and the effects of Brexit, today’s ‘Internet of Things’ era actually presents retailers with a massive opportunity when it comes to enhancing the retail experience and increasing revenue. While it’s true that access to an unprecedented level of data on consumers’ shopping preferences can propel a retail business forward, the concurrent problem is that it also risks leaving others behind .

The trick for retailers is to make sure they’re effectively catering for the hybrid nature of today’s shopping habits. The way consumers shop online must be seamlessly integrated with the way they shop in-store, and the experience across all retail touch-points must be consistent. This is why bolstering your digital presence as a retailer is so important.

Consumers value convenience as much as price (if not more) and expect it to be at the heart of all their transactions. They might want to order goods online but pick up in-store. They might want to buy in-store but deal with enquiries online. Whatever the case, they’ll expect quick and easy access to digital sales and customer service points straight from their device.

That being the case, with trends like AR [Augmented Reality], VR [Virtual Reality] and AI [Artificial Intelligence] set to transform the retail experience ,  businesses must aim high when it comes to their digital presence.

Being able to deliver on all that digital retail has to offer now, and in the future depends on having a solid, fast, and resilient IT network. The good news is that resilient data solutions offer businesses guaranteed return on investment because they help to enable the kind of service consumers expect. This means a better bottom line and a more efficient business overall.Don’t leave customer services behind

When competition is high, brand reputation is everything – which is why customer service remains so important to retailers in the digital age. It goes hand-in-hand with the ever-evolving demands of consumer satisfaction.

As with all else in the retail journey, consumers expect access to a range of customer service channels.  It may seem businesses are switching to email, livechat, or even WhatsApp to get in touch with their customers but the fact is, voice is still a vital channel for customer service teams. When dealing with a complaint or enquiry, many customers still value picking up the phone and having their issue dealt with directly.

To stay relevant and offer customers the ultimate customer service, retail businesses must ensure they keep their voice and communications channels aligned with the rest of their digital transformation initiatives. Cloud-hosted telephony solutions and converged data solutions offer retail businesses slick in-branch and centralised call handling that’ll go beyond what the customer expects. Real-time call reporting to enable effective call management in the contact centre, meaning secure, PCI-compliant services in-branch, in customer services departments, and in head-office, that support over-the-phone card payments from a number of locations.

The main thing is that cloud-hosted telephony drastically reduces line and call costs. That’s why it’s an ideal place for retail businesses to look to make efficiency savings.

Want to learn more about cloud-hosted telephony? Download our eGuide on voice communications for business.