17 Reasons to Upgrade Your Retail In-Store Communications

17 Reasons to Upgrade Your Retail In-Store Communications

As brick-and-mortar store stores come back into operation they will resume their roles in the customer’s buying journey which include making a purchase, click and collect center, returns hub, and customer service center. Retailers are rethinking the instore customer engagement by focusing on new levels of customer relationship where the retail associate is front and center. For retailers, in-store communications or unified communications are going to be an important tool in helping them provide safety and quality experience to their teams and shoppers

Customers are still going to want experience hands-on people who operate in an in-store environment, walking the aisles helping them with their purchases. Customers not only expect the associates to resolve their current issue, but they also have a level of blind trust in them. They are receptive to employee recommendations or feelings toward a product. 1 According to Forrester, trained, equipped, and motivated associates can perform better and engage more effectively than those who aren’t, converting sales in the range of 15% to 40% in the store.2

More than anything else, retail associates are going to be the key to delivering a positive in-store experience to the customer, but they need the right communication and connectivity tools to deliver high-quality customer service.

In March 2020, Gartner stated, “Over the past several years, retailers have been focused on building and maintaining a digital workplace. The digital workplace requires a dual approach: The tech and tactical side that helps employees do their jobs better each day, balanced with a strategic approach to workplace culture. Employees must be empowered with data and technology to make decisions in the moment.  Data at the edge: can reduce the need for analysis and decision making to take place remotely, avoiding delay and hampering both employee and customer experiences.” 3

To empower associates to deliver truly remarkable customer experiences requires a technology solution that will give them constant and instant connection to other associates, to store managers – to the entire store ecosystem.

Retailers are looking to unified workforce communications platforms like the Honeywell Smart Talk that tackles the problem of fragmented communications. Retailers that deploy unified communication platform see up to a 10% increase in employee productivity and up to 25% decrease in training time4. Store associates can comply with social distancing guidelines by altering how they perform daily tasks. Consider these scenarios:

18 Retail Requirements for an In-store Unified Communications Platform

At the root of many of the adjustments retailers are making, stems the need to address how associates, managers, and customers will now interact/communicate to promote safety and still effectively perform their responsibilities and serve customers. The key is understanding how to use, adapt, and incorporate available technology to address the changes that will be on-going for the foreseeable future.

Today, retail in-store communications are a hodgepodge of partial solutions such as:

  • Legacy telecom systems that offer little in the way of bells and whistles
  • Antiquated walkie talkies that do not support mobile apps
  • Retailers who allowed employees to bring their own device, which has its own limitations regarding data retention, privacy concerns and security issues
  • And then there are those retailers who still rely on email to disperse communications between their corporate location and in-store environments.

Now, in today’s environment, those communication tools are very inadequate to address communication needs between associates and customers as they begin to reopen. Retailers are looking for unified communication platform to:

  1. Provide for call and file sharing, app integration, and video conferencing, VOIP, and Push-to-Talk.
  2. Allow associates to collaborate the same way they do privately and socially.
  3. Provide associates the ability to comply with social distancing guidelines by altering how they perform daily tasks.
  4. Provide a complete framework for building their own real-time communications and workflows.
  5. Deliver smoother, streamlined services to customers.
  6. Include communication tools like presence and chat to give associates the opportunity to get in touch with employees in other departments for price and size checks, as well as inventory statuses, and more.
  7. Be device agnostic and leverage existing mobile devices and add devices when needed.
  8. Rapidly and easily deployed across all stores.
  9. Provides the ability to address customer needs in-store and online.
  10. Connects device enabled associates across the enterprise.
  11. Provides a wealth of useful platform analytics in real-time helping to make better decisions.
  12. Be an all-in-one, feature-rich communication tool that works well on rugged handheld devices.
  13. Bring multiple communication technologies on to one platform.
  14. Enact changes across all locations instantly.
  15. Integrated with other software without IT team assistance.
  16. Not require company resources to be responsible for routine software and security updates.
  17. Help ensure that each customer receives a consistent experience in terms of the information provided and how they are treated.

Honeywell has brought together a robust ecosystem of voice-enabled communications solutions to empower retail associates to deliver a more connected, frictionless shopper experience. We are helping retailers evaluate their current communications systems and practices and sharing how we can help them quickly transition to a communication platform that will address their current and long-term needs.  Let’s take a closer look Honeywell Smart Talk.

Honeywell Smart Talk: Suited for Any Retail Environment

Honeywell Smart Talk is a true voice-enabled unified workforce communications application that tackles the problem of fragmented communications. You receive enterprise-grade security for voice calling, text and media messaging, and user presence – all from one device such as the CT40.

Teams will have a single device to help streamline the business and access crucial data on demand. One device to manage and maintain. One device replacing the need to support and buy consumer mobile phones. Overall one device can improve response times, workflows, productivity and customer service quality.

Honeywell Smart Talk is suited for any retail environment. It provides a unified communications solution that is connecting your devices to your existing phone system. Utilize the device’s existing and network contact list to make and receive high-quality voice over IP (VoIP) calls over a Wi-Fi or cellular data network connection. Smart Talk clients are trusted and secure applications that can also act as an extension to your PBX.

Honeywell Smart Talk Benefits. Retailers adopting the Honeywell Smart Talk solution can gain the following benefits:

  • Superior Call Experience. Smart Talk provides seamless roaming and superior audio quality for improved user experience. Individuals will have seamless call continuity between wi-fi and cellular, network monitoring and MOS score rating on every call, and support for wide range of audio codecs including OPUS and SILK.
  • Advanced Enterprise Security. Honeywell Smart Talk is designed to meet even the most stringent security requirements. All sessions are encrypted via TLS and SRTP for securing media and audio streams. Firewall traversal and compliance are also up to date with the latest industry standards (STUN, ICE, TURN). The system is MDM ready to lock or remote wipe containers. You can secure RTP support to encrypt video and audio media streams.
  • Rapid Onboarding. Smart talk provides reduced implementation costs, faster deployments. Companies will have interoperability with100+ SIP-based call server and PBX and hosted providers. Smart talk can be installed on Honeywell Mobility Edge™ platform devices (e.g., CT40), qualified third-party Android, iOS or Windows devices (e.g., mobile computer, tablet, desktop, laptop). It is also LDAP leveraged to provision users quickly.
  • Flexible and Scalable. Smart Talk is scalable across the retailer’s entire business and existing device estate. The solution be either be hosted or on-premise deployments, subscription or perpetual licensing based, branded to your corporation, and available with a full suite of communication (e.g., chat, video, VOIP, PTT).
  • Single Device. Smart Talk provides a single device to help streamline operations and access crucial data on demand. One device to manage and maintain. One device replacing the need to support and buy consumer mobile phones.

Honeywell CT40 on Mobility Edge. The Honeywell CT40 Mobile Computer uses 4G LTE wireless, Wi-Fi, and IP-based business communications. CT40 is built on the Mobility Edge™ Platform, ensuring customer data is protected and secure regardless of whether the retailer utilizes cellular or Wi-Fi.

Honeywell Mobility Edge™ is a unified mobile computing platform designed for faster deployments, optimized business performance, longer lifecycle and stronger security. It’s the industry’s only platform built for upgrades all the way through Android R.

Make Innovation Work within Budget. Honeywell-as-a-Service is an offering that helps you navigate technology challenges. It provides you with an innovative approach to acquire software, hardware, and services and pay for them through a monthly payment with no upfront capital outlay.

Honeywell Retail Solutions

Honeywell’s lineup of retail solutions including mobile computers and software allows for retail associates to stay connected regardless of where they are located.  Associates that are empowered with constant and instant connection, can deliver exceptional shopper experiences while minimizing contact. Whether the retailer has enterprise-grade mobility devices or utilizes a bring your own device policy, Honeywell Smart Talk can integrate easily into their existing IT investments. 

How Customer Service Can Increase Sales and Build Brand Loyalty/Multi Channel Merchant
2 Four Reasons Retailers Need to Invest In People /Forrester
3 Source: Gartner, 2020 Retail Digital Transformation and Innovation Trends, Ma Kelsie Marian, Joanne Joliet, Bob Hetu, Max Hammond, Published 16 March 2020 
4 Honeywell Time Study

Barry J. Ewell

Barry J. Ewell is a Senior Content Marketing Communications Specialist for Honeywell Industrial Automation. He has been researching and writing on supply chain topics since 1991.