IT Solutions for the Retail Industry: 6 Major Considerations Before You Make a Purchase
Retail stores are a unique challenge for IT teams and professionals. Between home office, storefronts, and ecommerce, there are multiple communication touchpoints, each with different needs.
So how can management and IT determine which retail store systems are right for their company? Here are six things to evaluate before purchasing or implementing any IT solution:
Customers are trusting you with valuable information. You don’t want to be the next headline of a company with a security breach. That is a surefire way to lose customers. Internal data needs to be secure. Competitors or other companies should not be able to access your financial, inventory, or customer data.
Every IT software solution you use needs to have a high level of security, as does any hardware being used. Employees also need to be trained on appropriate security and risk-mitigation procedures.
Is your website prepared for a sudden surge on Cyber Monday? Any downtime will negatively impact sales and leave you scrambling for a fix. Is your in-store sales system fast and reliable? A long or difficult checkout process will be frustrating for customers who may leave before even completing their purchase.
Your IT retail solutions need to be fast and reliable to provide an easy, convenient customer experience. And because m-commerce (mobile commerce) is now very much a trend among online shoppers, keep in mind that according to a Google analysis of mobile page speeds, “53% of mobile visits leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.”
3. Third-Party Software Integration
One of the biggest headaches for retailers (and all companies, for that matter) is disparate systems that don’t “talk” to each other, leading to missed opportunities for customer insights and lots of employee hours spent manually working on data.
At 8x8, we believe that the best way to integrate is to unify. By choosing a unified communication system, many of your most important data points will already be in the same system.
Implementing new technology is never easy, so it’s important to pick a retail store solution that will meet a growing company’s future needs. Ask these questions when evaluating a retail system’s expansion capabilities:
- What is the cost to add a new retail storefront? A new warehouse?
- How are expansions managed?
- Is there a limit to customer transactions, vendors, SKUs, warehouses, or other data?
5. Access to Data
Technology has created more data points than ever, but the data is not useful if it is not easily captured. The ideal retail IT system will provide data in a clear, easy-to-understand format that enables fast customer insights.
Access to a complete set of data gives you the opportunity to solve customer issues as they’re happening and stay on top of opportunities to improve customer conversion and streamline internal operations.
6. Ease of Use
A solution may have all the best capabilities in the world, but it’s not worth anything if it’s too difficult for employees (or customers) to use. This can result in employees creating their own solutions, which not only leads to confusion in the long run but also reduces the value of the data collected by a unified solution. Not to mention that an unused solution is a major waste of money.
Having a unified solution is one of the best ways to ensure that a retail system is easy to use. By keeping multiple functions in one place, employees do not have to switch between programs to communicate or access data. This makes it easier and faster for them to accomplish their tasks.
Looking for a New Retail IT Solution? Consider 8x8
If your company is considering a new retail IT solution for communication, consider 8x8’s cloud-based retail system. It’s a unified solution that ticks all the right boxes: secure, reliable, easy to use, expands as you grow, and provides easy access to data. It has everything you need in a retail IT system to simplify retail operations and enable better customer experiences through effective communication.
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.