Being able to communicate effectively from anywhere around a large retail store or distribution warehouse delivers many benefits, including improved responsiveness to customer inquiries, increased staff productivity and higher levels of staff safety.
Key staff can carry a single, portable device that is not only a cordless telephone, but can also receive urgent text messages and can even be used to raise the alarm in the event of an emergency. A range of solutions are available that suit a variety of sites, from large distribution centres through to smaller retail stores.
Mobility Has Many Rewards
Employees perform their jobs faster and more effectively by staying in touch with customers and staff while on the store floor. Customers no longer endure long hold times, and questions are answered immediately. Plus, the delays and distraction of overhead paging are eliminated.
Delivering Messages Has Never Been Simpler
Integrated text messaging capability provides much more functionality than just wireless voice communications. By interfacing with an almost unlimited choice of paging, security, alarm and LAN based messaging systems, the cordless system becomes a truly integrated wireless solution for stores and warehouses alike.
When integrated into retail applications, users can be notified automatically when Point-of-Sales terminals are malfunctioning, if inventory levels are low or if fridges temperature sensors are activated.
Protect Your Most Important Asset
Many retail workers are required to work in environments where their personal safety is at risk. Cordless handsets with duress functionality ensures that the alarm is raised if urgent assistance is required.
With features such as alarm button, rip cord, man down and location identification, duress handsets deliver peace of mind to users and also enables employers to meet their OH&S obligations.
Important features for retail:
- Can provide wireless extensions to any voice platform
- Wi-Fi or DECT
- Wireless handsets can receive urgent text messages (eg fire, evacuation, staff protection, fridge alarms)
- Range of handsets to suit different applications (robust - shock/water/dust protection, staff protection/duress)
Wireless networks are improving profit margins and customer experience for retailers at a rapid pace. Whether a big box chain of superstores or a single shop on the corner, wireless networking makes the retail business more efficient, more effective and more profitable.
Retailers around the world who demand high performance and reliability from their networks use Meru's Virtualized Wireless LAN architecture. The network supports mission-critical applications including point-of-sale systems, just-in-time supply chain management and warehouses filled with RFID tagged inventory, all while remaining highly secure to help retailers maintain PCI compliance. And the same wireless network that carries these can also extend to other applications including toll-quality voice and bandwidth-hungry video, scaling to new demands as needed.
Designed for the All-Wireless Enterprise
From the beginning, Meru designed its network for the All-Wireless Enterprise: an organization that never needs to depend on wires for connectivity. For retailers this delivers business agility combined with a low total cost of ownership, plus performance and security that meet or exceed traditional wired infrastructure.
- Wireless Like Wire. Meru's Virtualized Wireless LAN offers all the performance that users expect from wired Ethernet combined with the mobility of cellular.
- Quality of Service. A predictable network gives Data applications get the bandwidth they need while toll-quality voice is assured.
- Secure Transaction. The network exceeds the requirements, with multiple lines of defense against physical and virtual attacks.
- Airtime Fairness. Each client in a packed store gets a fair share of the airwaves, letting legacy clients coexist peacefully with the latest 802.11n devices.
- Strong Security and Simple Management. Meru makes it easy to control the diverse devices that retailers need to support, with proactive management to prevent downtime and automated troubleshooting to correct problems.
Important features for retail:
- Support for wireless data, voice and video with QOS (including RFID, RTLS)
- Ability to provide wireless coverage over large areas
- Simple to install / simple to manage
- Simple centralised network management for multi-store chains
- Support for simultaneous multiple:
- Wi-Fi clients (a/b/g/n) - Meru Airtime Fairness means WLAN performance is not influenced by slower devices
- Devices (notebooks / netbooks/ iPhones/ smartphones)
- Operating system Windows (XP, 7), Apple etc
IP Telephony / UC
The retail industry is a very competitive market where meeting customer demands whilst streamlining internal processes and decreasing expense is very important. In the typical retailer, the PBX acts as the central hub for communication with customers, onsite staff, suppliers and head office. Customers expect their call to be directed to the correct area and their query answered efficiently and accurately.
IP PBX systems are increasingly being used by retail chains to provide improved service while reducing costs.
Benefits of IP PBX in Retail
IP systems deliver advanced communications that enhance the client’s experience, improve customer service and optimise operational productivity and costs.
An IP PBX offers significant savings to retailers. All calls between stores, to distribution centres and corporate offices can be made via the internet at no additional cost. IP PBXs that support SIP extensions means that retailers are able to choose from a wide range of wired and wireless IP telephones with features that meet their needs and budgets.
Simplified Network Management
By converging voice and data onto a single common network means less equipment and easier integration for IT staff. Communication between stores can be easily achieved by simply dialling an extension number.
An IP PBX that supports unified communications applications enables integration of communication and collaboration solutions including messaging, voice, video, chat and presence on the one platform. These standards-based applications integrate with business tools such as Microsoft Outlook, tying together applications with a simple user interface.
When head office requires a meeting, all store managers can simply join a conference via a conference bridge, saving time and money.
Improved Customer Service
From simply routing customer’s calls to the correct department though to accessing staff on the floor carrying wireless handsets, IP PBXs deliver many benefits to customers.
Important features for retail:
- Outlook integration
- Voicemail / fax to e-mail – manage calls from customers and staff from office or mobile device (eg iPhone, Blackberry etc)
- Dialling from Outlook
- Support for a wide range of SIP voice phones
- Supports wireless extensions
- Point and click – easy call handling for the operator to transfer calls to floor staff
- Supports both traditional (analogue or ISDN) and VoIP calls
- Call recording and monitoring
- Call reporting and logging
Network Access / Security
Retailers are starting to view Wi-Fi as a way to further enhance the customer in-store experience. In-store Wi-Fi enables customers to use the retailer’s digital sales tools to answer basic questions and to find out if the item they want is in stock. This allows in-store employees to spend their time on more valuable activities such as handling detailed questions and increasing service and sales, instead of responding to routine inquiries. Stores are starting to deploy Wi-Fi tablets as interactive catalogues and order entry systems.
The challenge facing retailers is how to simply manage the process of allowing guests onto their network without compromising their network or wireless payment card security.
Managing the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon
The challenges in managing network access are being amplified by the new generation of personal smart devices including iPhones, tablets and other devices that guests, the general public and staff want to use within the facility. The BYOD phenomenon is seeing a flood of diverse Wi-Fi® devices entering networks claiming their share of WLAN resources. Networks must be prepared to deliver secure, scalable wireless network access to a diversity of devices and users
Wireless networks should be capable of enabling one-click self provisioning of client devices for secure 802.1x connectivity.
BYOD Guest Access Management Requirements:
- Easy-to-use, one-click self-provisioning capabilities
- Centralised, customisable portals for guest authentication
- Automatic notification services by email or SMS message
- Powerful reporting, auditing and customisation capabilities
- Secure role-based access with granular policy management enabling differentiated levels of access
- Intuitive interface that simplifies the creation of complex policy-based workflows
- Seamless integration with existing wired and wireless networks