Today's Guest Post comes from Linda Allen. Linda is a public relations specialist with Bluefire PR who covers business, banking and finance.
Voice Over Internet Protocol technology, or VoIP, is used in many business applications, especially as a replacement for the traditional telephone. The VoIP market is projected to reach $74.5 billion by 2015 for both residential and business users, Toolbox.com reports. (1) Mobile VoIP user numbers are also growing rapidly. As VoIP continues to gain adoption in both the business and residential sector, new ways of implementing it into businesses are created. Retail businesses see many advantages with using VoIP for their phone systems, point of sale machines and localized photo number support.
Hosted VOIP Phones
Setting up an on-site VoIP service gets complicated and is typically overkill for a retail business. Hosted VoIP phone systems, on the other hand, put most of the equipment burden on the provider. You can make it even easier by buying handsets specifically designed to work with a specific VoIP provider. Mashable reports it makes a lot of sense for small businesses and retail stores to use VoIP systems for their incoming customer calls. You don't have to deal with switches and antique phone systems, and they have a variety of features designed to make your life easier.
Current VoIP systems integrate with customer relationship management software such as Salesforce to make it simple to capture customer data. You can store your customer data with the help of the VoIP system, which then transfers the information over to your software of choice. This cuts down on transcription errors and other issues with data quality. Data quality software can also be added into the mix to ensure you have accurate address data if you send out mailers and promotions, notes ShoreTel Sky. You can send out targeted marketing materials with this information, as well, helping to increase your sales.
If you only use your phone occasionally, you don't even need physical VoIP hardware on location. Some services offer softphones, which is software you run on the computers you already have at the retail location. This makes it easier and less expensive to have a dedicated phone line in case customers call in. VoIP numbers also can be issued for any location, so you can get a number that matches your local town instead of routing customers through a long distance or 1-800 number.
Unified Shopping Experience
Your POS doesn't have to be a cause for headaches. Instead, POS software designed to take advantage of the latest VoIP innovations and technology gives you a high-tech retail business without a huge learning curve or cost. For example, NetSuite designed a platform that integrates with your inventory, has various security tiers, provides data capture services, and integrates payment processing. This POS software is future-proofed so it integrates with the latest technology, giving you the flexibility to upgrade as needed.