Mapping a Successful Communication Strategy in Retail Management
The retail sector is one of the most intense and competitive business environments where customers expect instant gratification. As a result, many retailers struggle to keep up. In fact, according to BankruptcyData.com, in 2017 alone, the retail sector accounted for 11% of public bankruptcies by industry – the second highest bankruptcy count.
On the other hand, top-rated retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Kroger were found to have similar traits. Aside from automation, what differentiates these top retailers from mediocre retailers is the quality of their retail management process.
To be successful in an industry as competitive as retail, retailers must establish a strong communication strategy that makes use of high-level tools and platforms to produce a high-quality retail management experience.
What Is Retail Management?
Retail management encompasses all retailer activities aimed at better understanding the consumers of their goods and services, with the goal of bringing more consumers into their stores, generating more sales, and achieving high satisfaction ratings.
In a nutshell, the purpose of retail management is to make shopping a pleasurable experience for customers.
Communication in Retail Management
For customers to leave your store with a smile, a reliable communication system is a must-have for the following reasons:
- It strengthens relationships among store teams. New members have a platform where they could ask questions, as well as observe experienced team members, allowing them to better serve the needs of your customers.
- Messages on new products, price changes, discounts, product recalls, and upcoming marketing campaigns are communicated to every member of the retail store team.
- It helps in anticipating changing customer expectations, providing proactive and faster customer service, and solving customer issues when they occur.
What Does Communication in Retail Management Look Like?
In retail management, you have two choices:
- Adopt traditional communication systems
- Embrace the latest communication technologies
Traditional communication systems require premise-based devices and come with limitations such as the inability to unify all communication streams and the possibility of a call being compromised while being routed from one location to the next.
For a retail communication system to be considered robust, it must have the following basic features:
- Be centralized with specific persons or a team in charge. This ensures that the right messages are sent within the specified time and formats.
- Be standardized. All communications must be relevant to the store, concise, and aimed at improving sales, customer service, and brand awareness.
- Be accessible. Remote stores should receive head office communications on their mobile devices and POS systems anytime, anywhere.
- Have both internal and consumer-facing components. Your store teams are the face of your brand and also your internal customers. A good communication system is equipped for both internal and external communication.
- Encourage feedback. Feedback is vital for service improvement. Without feedback, you can’t objectively measure the quality of your services. For your store teams and customers to provide the feedback you need, reassure them that both positive and negative feedback are welcome. Like a suggestion box that protects the anonymity of its users, a strong retail communication system should be designed in a way that encourages customers and employees to voice their opinion without fear of retribution.
- A good retail communication system should not be disruptive to operations. Rather, it should enhance existing processes by making sure each employee has all the information they need to do their jobs right.
What Are the Best Communication Tools for Retail Management?
The market is awash with many communication tools for retailers. When choosing a communication tool, make sure it has the basic features mentioned above.
8x8.com provides superior cloud communications and customer engagement solutions such as cloud-based voice, contact center, video, mobile, and unified communications for retailers of all sizes, whether they’re operating a single location or own a growing network of national and international franchises. The 8x8 platform ensures consistent communication across stores, head offices, and contact center locations.
- 8x8’s cloud-based communication platform can unify all communication streams. This allows for greater insight across all interactions and gives you all the data you need to make sound business decisions.
- Managing several communication and collaboration tools from one, centralized location frees up your IT department’s time, allowing them to focus their efforts on higher-value projects.
- 8x8’s Virtual Contact Center uses intelligent routing to determine the best person or path to handle and resolve calls. This, unlike the traditional routing methods which depend on network topology information to select paths, significantly reduces costs without compromising quality.
Some of the communications solutions for retailers that 8x8 provide include:
- Virtual Office. Includes advanced phone functions and internet faxing, video conferencing and web meetings, chats and SMS, and unlimited calling features for small businesses
- Collaborative Contact Center. Keeps everyone in the loop and ensures that adequately trained agents across your enterprise are instantly accessible to resolve customer concerns
- One-Click Unified Cloud Communications. Enables you to smoothly transition across chats, voice calls, video conferencing, and document sharing with single sign-on (SSO), as well as continuous access to corporate directories. You can also promptly switch between your desk phone and your smartphone.
- Communications Analytics. Provides real-time analytics that shows you what’s really going on in your enterprise, from interactions with CRM to other business applications
Build Stronger Relationships with Retail Management
Your retail business could be the future Amazon or Walmart. Likewise, it could join the ranks of a long line of retailers that are likely to file for bankruptcy in the coming years. What determines the direction that your retail business is likely to take is the communication strategy that you will employ in your retail management.
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.