Four Ways Retailers are Using the Cloud

September 4, 2018 jkent-ransom

Four Ways Retailers are Using the Cloud
Monica Ellis
Tuesday, September 4, 2018 - 09:00 Retailers find success in the Cloud

Retail establishments are always working to stay ahead of the competition, whether through enhanced product features, better customer service, or lower prices. Another way some retail businesses are getting ahead is through the use of cloud computing. Cloud services can be adopted in retail sites to handle a variety of functions. One of these functions is cloud-based communications. Following, we look at some instances where retailers are implementing cloud communication services to improve daily processes in retail locations.

1. UC Enables Integrated Communications

Cloud-based communication systems can be set up to merge capabilities across various modules. For instance, retail branches can easily manage customer information through hosted voice services that integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) systems and VoIP systems. Adding in hosted communication tools like presence and chat gives retailers the opportunity to quickly get in touch with employees in other departments for price and size checks, as well as inventory statuses, and more.

And some of this integration is thanks to Microservices. Microservices – not to be confused with Microsoft – is an emerging technology architecture that breaks down applications into their functional components so that they can be configured in numerous combinations through APIs. Using Microservices, retail business will be able to experience faster innovation, greater flexibility in packaging, as well as customization to meet each user’s specific needs.

2. UC Improves the Customer Inquiry Process

In the past, when a typical customer walked into a retail store to ask questions about a product or its availability, the scenario would go something like this:

  1. Customer walks up to a store employee and makes inquiry

  2. Employee makes a call to the department manager

  3. The department manager then walks over to the closest inventory terminal, which might be in the warehouse, further delaying the original employee’s ability to provide answers and service to the customer in front of them

But with a well-established UC system in place, the scenario could go more like this:

  1. Customer walks up to a store employee and asks their question

  2. The floor employee picks up their UC-enabled device and immediately looks up the product information through a web interface

  3. If further information is still required, the employee can check through UC Presence capabilities whether or not someone in supply chain is available and can chat or establish a video call to finish handling the customer’s requests

UC offers a quicker, more seamless customer-handling process in-store, but today’s retailers are receiving customer inquiries across multiple channels, from web chat to email and social media. For these types of inquiries, a contact center solution can provide a single integrated view of the customer across all channels; and, using sophisticated routing, the contact center tool can quickly and efficiently direct the customer to the agent most skilled to handle their request.   

3.  UC Aids in Supply Chain Management

Delays resulting from human involvement, in what is supposed to be an automated process, can really hinder the ultimate goal of effective supply chain management: prompt delivery to the customer. Oftentimes, the root of this issue stems from a lack of an integrated communications infrastructure. But UC can help retail workers make delivery a breeze for their customers. An interconnected solution consisting of a customer-facing, Omni-channel web portal can help retailers in numerous ways. The process first starts with an order made through a cloud-based contact center; then, using a CRM system, it transfers appropriate delivery data to an ERP system. With ties back to an easy-to-use web portal, customers can quickly find detailed order status information and delivery updates, in real-time. This saves the company time and money - making supply chain a more efficient process - by providing real-time delivery notifications that result in greater customer satisfaction.

4. UC Provides Real-time Reporting

To enable effective marketing tactics, retailers demand ongoing insight into their customer base and changing trends. What these companies need is a product that tracks social and mainstream media in order to gauge the impact of their brand communications on the market. West offers Media Monitoring, powered by Synthesio, which tracks urgent conversation topics so that retail employees can better handle customer service, potential crises, and competitor benchmarking. West’s analysts can create custom reports that feature specific customer demographics, as well as track reactions to new product offerings. Brand reputation can be protected as alerts give retailers an early warning system to ensure your business is on top of any business-critical issues that may arise.

And to help amplify brand messaging and build affinity, West’s Influencer Marketing Platform can help businesses identify the key influencers who are leading the conversations relevant to their brands and seek opportunities to engage with them and build relationships.  

Unified Communications and other cloud services are being implemented in droves across industry verticals for their many benefits, so it’s no surprise that retail establishments are jumping on the UC bandwagon as well. With a low operating expense model, better unified communications options - and assistance providing better customer support, supply chain management and real-time reporting - there are countless ways that retail operations can be improved using UC services. Contact our experts in retail communication solutions at West today to help your organization discover even more ways that cloud services can be used for improved communications.

Solving Modern Retail Challenges in the Cloud: New eBook

In almost every area of the retail sector, technology’s impact is tangible. But retailers have many tools and services available to tackle the obstacles in their way, boosting revenue and improving customer experience at the same time.

Our new eBook, Solving Modern Retail Challenges in the Cloud, can help you understand what you’re up against and rise to the occasion:

  • Understand six top obstacles today’s retailers face
  • Review real-world case studies
  • Get actionable advice for prioritizing customer experience with unified communications as a service (IUCaaS) and contact center as a service (CCaaS)
 

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