The link between communication and safety in the future of retail

Article by Olivia Robinson | 15th July 2020

Communication in retail directly impacts colleague wellbeing and store safety.

Better communication technology creates less friction between staff and customers, reduces time wasted looking for help and boosts proactive stock management. In the wake of a pandemic, a connected, efficient team is a safer team.

Cohesion, wellbeing and empowerment 

Communication technology in retail creates cohesion between front and back-of-house, making it easier to maintain stock levels and reduce the risk of empty shelves. Connected colleagues can answer customer questions swiftly. Junior team members are linked with experienced staff via their headset and can ask questions as much as they need to. This all boosts team cohesion, encouraging collaboration all within the parameters of safe working distances.

We know from our customers that better team communication in retail also reduces losses. A connected team is more empowered to act in the event of a theft occurring, and can quickly and discretely notify security. When customers see colleagues wearing headsets, it acts as a theft deterrent. This results in a safer store environment.

VoCoVo’s open API means our solutions link with smart-shelving technology, notifying colleagues via headset callouts when products become low, or sudden drops in shelf weight happen. We also connect every store using a unique ecosystem of CallPoints and KeyPads, proving a secure, open communication network to manage the daily challenges of retail. 

Find out more about our hardware and software range here

By reducing the amount of time colleagues spend looking for each other, we increase the task efficiency of team members.  VoCoVo’s team communication solution saves 1.4km per team member, per day. This travel reduction saves the average store over £16,000 per year. It also saves colleagues a lot of unnecessary effort.

When colleagues are able to chat regularly, they feel safer at work. This safety impacts the customer, whose needs can be met more efficiently. All this has a positive impact on team morale and customer wellbeing. By reducing losses, empowering and connecting teams, colleagues feel happier at work. In some of our proof-of-concepts, we saw staff morale lift by 50% over two weeks.

Our solution saves colleagues an average of 105 minutes every day; that’s worth over £5,700 per annum per store.

Find out more about how we transformed team communication at Wickes

The shifting world of retail

The past 3 months have seen an unprecedented shift in retail. Data suggests that the future of retail is omnichannel – where customers buy online, pay in-store. Over 75% of customers now prefer this method. We’re also buying less regularly, going out on average either weekly or fortnightly. When we do venture out, we spend more money but less time. This has an impact on store safety. 

Customer expectations have changed; customers now value a quick, socially distanced shopping experience. Colleagues with a communication solution in place are better equipped to cope with this. Shoppers have the security of knowing that staff are working at a safe distance from each other, and can ask questions, get answers and move quickly through their shop without compromising their health.

Better communication results in a better performing store. Customers can enter, shop and leave safely. Queues can be managed remotely. Click & Collect or customer service points can be manned, or unmanned, and managed effectively. All this adds up to a future-proofed and safer shopping experience.

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