How Does a Central Phone System Work in Retail

A central phone system in the retail industry is a key part of retail communications.

It's essential to business operations for all the employees and management to stay in close contact with each other, so many retailers use a centralized phone system to connect each department and segment of the business together. Calls are routed through the central phone system to the right people — this was historically done by a human operator, and in some cases still is — although modern Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) retail communications uses automated functionality through a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) box or cloud-based PBX system.

What Is a PBX?

PBX systems are the "brain" of your VoIP phone system and directly manage the phone functions you experience just as a public branch exchange does for public phone systems. Your retail business will likely use a PBX or have these functions carried out in the cloud on a separate server computer if you choose a service with cloud-hosted PBX functionality.

What are Examples of a Central Phone System in the Retail Industry?

Here are a few examples of how a central phone system may look in a retail context:

  • Retail Communications for a Large Retail Chain: Retailers with hundreds of brick-and-mortar locations may have one or more contact centers powered by physical PBX units. Formerly referred to as a call center, the contact center handles phone calls, text messaging, chat, and other related forms of retail communications. The retailer's contact center may handle communications with customers, vendors, and the public. It may also handle internal communications among employees. The higher the volume of calls a retail company has, the bigger and more complex their phone system is.
  • Central Phone System for a Small Retail Chain: A smaller chain with just a few stores may still have a VoIP phone system with the same functions that the larger store chain has but with a smaller call volume. In all likelihood, the company's executive leadership or owners chose a cloud-hosted VoIP system without onsite servers to process communications. They don't have enough calls to justify paying more to buy their own servers to manage the phone system, but they still need features such as multiple extensions and a phone tree.
  • Phone System for a Single Retail Shop: Small businesses in the retail industry usually turn to an affordable VoIP service that scales down to ten or fewer users. This is a cloud-hosted service that typically has few added features, since customer service, vendor issues, and other communications are all handled by the same small number of staff members.
  • Communications for eCommerce Stores: eCommerce businesses run the gamut of sizes, business models, and industries. There's no one-size-fits-all eCommerce phone system — businesses may choose a VoIP vendor who offers highly scalable services that can quickly adapt to the changing needs of the organization.

As you can see, there are many different ways VoIP phone systems can work in a retail communications context. PBX systems manage the central phone system, serving as a hub to route calls and manage traffic to make sure each call reaches the right person at the right time. A variety of different features and functions are available to serve retail businesses of different sizes and with different needs. Retailers choose a VoIP system that manages their phone calls, SMS text messaging, chat capabilities, and other related communications. Using VoIP, retailers can achieve more efficient and effective retail communications and stay connected with employees, vendors, customers, and members of the public.

Retail businesses are incredibly unique, and so is VoIP service. 8x8 knows central phone systems and offers a variety of solutions that help retailers stay connected.

Choosing the right technology is crucial to a successful retail business. Establish a streamlined retail communications strategy with 8x8, and focus on growing your business. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.

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