Top Retail Store Communication Systems for Retailers
Looking to Create a Great In-Store Experience? Here are the Tools of Choice for Communicating with Staff and Getting Stuff Done in Stores
It’s crucial for retailers to have a communication strategy in place to engage employees and create consistent customer experiences, especially during these difficult times. But there are so many options for how to send messages and communicate with employees that choosing the right retail store communication systems can be overwhelming.
So, we’ve broken down some of the best in-store communication systems out there that help employees stay informed and engaged while delivering a great customer experience.
Top Retail Store Communication Systems for Retailers
Two-Way Radios and Headsets
Instant verbal communication is vital, especially when stores are so large that associates and managers are out of sight or earshot from one another.
Two-way radios and headsets offer employees and managers the ability to keep each other informed of customer needs and the status of tasks that need to be done, are in progress, or completed.
Here’s an example:
In a large apparel store, two-way radios and headsets allow staff to communicate between the checkout, fitting rooms, display areas, and stock rooms without leaving their posts. If lines are forming at the cash register or certain products are flying off the shelves, staff are able to quickly redistribute themselves accordingly with a simple check-in on the same channel.
Two-way radio and headset communication systems also allow associates to request what they need (like a new roll of receipt paper or a product in a different size) in detail right away without having to leave the sales floor.
Radios also help with loss prevention, allowing employees to report suspicious activity to co-workers who are in a better position to stop a theft. (Security guards can also be equipped with radios tuned to the same channel to receive alerts from staff.)
A Motorola Solutions case study found that retail workers’ top three concerns about two-way radios were comfort, image, and performance. Based on the data collected, Motorola—similar to other companies—has designed a variety of products that are lightweight, easy to use and can look sleek regardless of individual retailers’ employee dress codes, making it easy to stay informed while comfortable on the sales floor.
An innovator in making retail more mobile, Zebra Technologies offers a wide range of handheld products that meet retailers’ various needs. Even when taking inventory or making price changes in a high-volume, high-turnover environment like a grocery store, Zebra products allow employees to complete tasks while remaining on the floor and ready to assist customers.
Zebra also offers portable POS solutions, which help eliminate crowded queues at checkout stations. A study by Omnico Group found that 77 percent of U.S. customers would be less likely to return to a store where they encountered long check-out lines. On average, customers would leave the store empty-handed after an eight-minute wait time. Meeting customers where they are when they’re ready to make a purchase and ringing them through on a mobile device eliminates the frustrations caused by long lineups and wait times in-store.
And, not to boast, but Foko Retail recently partnered with Zebra Technologies to help retail staff connect with team members and content right on the sales floor—more on that later… 😉
In 2019, a survey by Pew Research found a whopping 96% of Americans aged 18 to 30 own a smartphone (92% of Americans aged 30 to 49 own one, as well). With the majority of the retail workforce being in this age range and familiar with these devices, it only makes sense to put them to good use in-store.
According to a Retail Dive survey, customers primarily use their smartphones in-store to research products and compare prices, so it’s vital that employees have access to the same information. If a knowledgeable employee is able to engage a customer and give them a great in-store experience, that shopper is likely to purchase a product on-the-spot.
With smartphones, little training would be required since most retail employees are already familiar with them, and many companies already have bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies in place, or maybe considering one. Additional retail communication software can be installed on employees’ own phones to ensure that all the information they need is at their fingertips whenever they’re in-store. Doing so can help employees stay informed and cut down on additional hardware costs for retailers—win, win.
In addition to personal smartphones (or as a replacement for associates who aren’t allowed to use their own devices at work), tablets can be a useful retail store communication system for retailers willing to make the purchase.
Lightweight and mobile, tablets can be carried by staff or easily stored at checkout and information desks without creating clutter in the workspace. They can also be equipped with retail task management and communication software to help employees keep track of daily tasks, visual merchandising guidelines, inventory, and more.
When used on the sales floor, tablets can also help associates share product knowledge with customers, allowing them to demonstrate product features or services offered by a company with photos, how-to videos, and other details. That way, even if an item is out of stock, employees can educate a customer about a particular product, which can be purchased online or picked up in-store at a later date.