For many retailers 2010 was a year for evaluating, with most left questioning if they could afford to invest in technology in the aftermaths of a recession that shook the retail sector to the core.

The message came back loud and clear: ignoring technological advancements is not an option. So how can retailers squeeze as much from their comms budget as possible? In the below post I give you my 5 top tips to maximise your comms budget with real value-added services.

  1. Find a fully integrated communication service that specialises in providing real value-added services to the retail sector. By consolidating these business-essential communications into one package you will benefit from a reduction in overall costs with one point of contact and one monthly payment, saving time and money.
  2. Use an underlying MPLS network: A key cost saving benefit of an MPLS network is that it does not require expensive routers because the service provider builds the network and manages the routing on its own core switches, without needing any special configuration on the customer site. Using MPLS instead of the traditional VPN (Virtual Private Network) networks can also be relied upon for any secure real-time services such as voice, video or payment processing.
  3. Consider an IP payment gateway which complies with PCI security standards and allows you to pay a monthly flat fee for all group-wide transactions, rather than paying a percentage of individual transactions.
  4. Implement a hosted IP telephony service: This will allow you to save money by reducing the number of analogue circuits required per store as well as allowing free inter-site calls. Hosted IP telephony also improves customer service by offering functions such as voicemail, call transfer and call queuing.
  5. Evaluate your current services and prioritise which are most important to your business need. If the suppliers or the cost become unmanageable it’s time for a review.