Only 13.4% use unified communications within their operation
About 68.9% of retail executives were not familiar with, or fully aware of, the advantages of unified communications technology, according to a new report.
The new report, commissioned by Elite Telecom, in association with UC manufacturer, Swyx and Retail Week, revealed that the retail sector faces the danger of being surpassed by other industries for failing to invest in unified communications (UC) technology.
Elite Telecom CEO Matt Newing said as an industry that is facing enormous pressure to adapt to increased competition, especially from digital and online channels, unified communications is an investment that many retailers cannot afford to miss out on.
"Unified communications is all about the end user experience and helping to deliver smoother, streamlined services to customers both in store and online," Newing said.
"Customers are more likely to return to businesses that have exceeded their expectations and offered them something different."
About 39.3% of surveyed, who consider deploying unified communications, would be driven by the requirement to enhance customer service, while other influencers included the need to trim down overheads (19.6%) and boost staff productivity (17.9%).
"Unified communications enhances the communication at every stage of the purchase cycle: Investing in UC allows retailers to optimise processes whilst improving quality in their user journey, offering loyalty to the customer to increase sales and profits," Matt added.
"Those businesses that are too slow to adapt to technology advances or to internet-led services will simply not be here in two to three years’ time."
About 41% of survey respondents suggested that social media and other multi-media channels would be the biggest trend to face the retail sector over the following 12 months, while 33% were with mobility and fixed mobile convergence trends.
Swyx CEO Ralf Ebbinghaus said the launch of UC can also significantly cut overheads for retailers, especially those with several sites.
"They can take advantage of free calls between outlets using VoIP and can also centralise customer enquiries for multiple locations," Ebbinghaus said.
The survey presses on communicating the business benefits of UC to the retail sector as 41.2% admitted to having never heard of unified communications technology until now.
Conversely, about 37.5% of respondents revealed that cost was also major obstacle for implementing the technology, with only 13.4% of respondents using unified communications within their operation.