Just like every other industry, the retail sector is being disrupted by digital transformation. Online-only stores have emerged as a major existential threat with their ease of reaching consumers and making their products accessible via a website and e-commerce engine. However, unless they are delivering an exceptional customer experience, these e-tailers will always be price-driven and will struggle to build repeat business and brand loyalty.
Traditional retailers have an opportunity to leverage the customer loyalty and brand awareness built up over many years to gain massive advantages through digital transformation. These include a unified online and in-store shopping experience, personalised services, real-time warehouse-and-branch inventory updates, click and collect options as part of an overall omnichannel experience for consumers.
“We’ve helped a lot of traditional retailers with their digital transformation initiatives, and have found that it is important to get the foundational elements established first,” says Garth Sperring – Nexon’s Practice Lead for Network and Security.
“The first steps to be digital ready are ensuring that the organisation’s connectivity and communications are providing the availability, reliability and performance required to support the systems and platforms underpinning the transformation initiatives.”
With the current phase out of ISDN and PSTN services with the rollout of the nbnTM access network continuing at pace, there is an ideal opportunity for retailers to rearchitect their communications to support consolidated voice and data services on a single broadband network, increase reliability with 4G connectivity and deploy solutions that improve both staff and customer experience across their retail environment.
The cost savings to be made by migrating to the nbn™ at each retail site and consolidating voice and data on the one network are potentially significant. If you consider a retailer like Lowes with 200 stores nationally, no longer having to pay per call telephony network rates or maintaining at least two separate connection services for voice and data at each of their stores will have a big impact on operating expenses.
“For some retailers, digital transformation initiatives have the biggest impact on the profitability of existing stores – and possibly make it viable to open in new locations. Maintaining a strong bricks-and-mortar presence is the key to providing great customer experiences for their brands in an increasingly competitive market,” says Sperring. “For other retailers, a reduction in operating expenditure can free up more capital to invest in digital innovation and business improvement programs, which further enhances their competitiveness.”
In a digital retail world, it’s no longer acceptable to lose connectivity at the store front no matter the sector. All retailers rely on connectivity to process transactions with EFT or BNPL providers, restaurants rely on orders from order and delivery platforms, clothing retailers need to access and update inventory data in real-time ensuring that their on-line platforms reflect accurate stock levels for click-and-collect services. All these can be ensured for stores with a nbn broadband access network connection and a seamless 4G backup keeping access to key applications and services working.
In retail, there has traditionally been a big disconnect in communications between head office, warehouse and in-store staff, and that’s often translated into a source of frustration for consumers. If the plan is to introduce a seamless omnichannel experience for consumers, retailers should consider achieving a similar outcome for staff.
Establishing a single, unified communications environment is only possible with the right network, and consolidated voice and data in place, to bring all retail staff together to be more available, more responsive and more collaborative – ultimately leading to improved staff satisfaction and better customer service outcomes.
To find out more about Nexon’s retail I.T. solutions here.
Call us on 1300 800 000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details on how we can help your retail business become digital ready.