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Retail Sector Still Diffident to Leverage Unified Communications

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June 03, 2013

Retail Sector Still Diffident to Leverage Unified Communications

By Jayashree Adkoli
TMCnet Contributor

Even though the unified communications (UC) market has grown to its full glory in many industrial sectors, it has not impressed the retail industry yet. A new report from Elite Telecom, a U.K.-based provider of unified communications solutions and gold partner provider of Swyx, the retail industry is still diffident to leverage the benefits offered by UC.

Elite Telecom prepared the survey in conjunction with Swyx and Retail Week and found that 68.9 percent of retail executives still have not identified the advantages offered by UC technology. Only 13.4 percent of retailers questioned, as part of the survey, have till now leveraged UC.

This indicates that vast majority of organizations in retail industry are yet to realize UC’s importance and harness it. The key reason behind this reticent for UC might be that 41 percent of retailer questioned have never heard of unified communications, while 17.6 percent of them know what UC is and understand the benefits, but are not using it in their business. The other 27.7 percent have heard of it, but do not know what it is. The remaining retailers, of about 13.41 percent only, are leveraging this technology.

In addition, very less retailers, about 0.8 percent questioned, agreed that support for more devices and mobile working will benefit in long run.

However, the trend is changing slowly. One of the graphs from the survey also depicts that 13.4 percent of retail businesses have implemented or are currently implementing the UC technology, while 34.9 percent of retail respondents will integrate unified communications within the next two to three years.

The survey listed some of the key obstacles to adopt UC by retailers, which includes misunderstanding the costs, security and ease-of-use associated with deploying UC. For the reason that, 43.7 percent of retailers that do not have awareness of UC admitted that understanding the technology itself is the biggest obstacle. 37.5 percent admitted that cost was the biggest obstacle, while 11.3 percent said that time is one of the obstacles.

Ultimately, the survey report depicts that the retail sector is severely behind the global investment into unified communications, putting them at a serious disadvantage.

Matt Newing, CEO, Elite Telecom, said in a statement, “Unified communications enhances the communication at every stage of the purchase cycle: Investing in UC allows retailers to optimize processes whilst improving quality in their user journey, offering loyalty to the customer to increase sales and profits.”

“Software-based unified communications solutions such as Swyx are easy to deploy and can also be entirely integrated into a range of back office systems, so you have a complete picture when communicating with customers, whether on the phone, email, instant messaging or social media,” Ralf Ebbinghaus, CEO at unified communications vendor Swyx, said in a statement. “Introducing 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 centralize customer enquiries for multiple locations.”

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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