New research commissioned by networking company Cisco has revealed one in five (21%) retail professionals are already using video collaboration technology in their business and realising organisational benefits as a result.
Improved communication between stores and warehouses (41%), better response to customer demand (29%), improved supplier and partner communication (24%), and improved stock management (18%) are the key benefits of video in the UK retail market, the study found.
Cisco’s Video Collaboration in Retail Report surveyed 125 retail professionals to establish how this competitive sector is embracing new technology across both business and IT functions to better respond to market and consumer demands.
Research firm Vision Critical conducted the poll, which also sought opinion from employees from the shop floor up to boardroom level on issues including supply management and enhancing customer experience.
Andy Chew, director of sales operations for collaboration, Cisco UK & Ireland, said: “In retail the pressure is on to introduce not just new products but additional vertical services too. Improving the supply chain and reducing the time it takes to bring new products to market is critical. This can only be achieved through close collaboration with suppliers and colleagues to develop allocate and replenish products quickly and efficiently – all of which have been revealed as key outcomes in this research.”
Further highlights from the research include:
· 90% of retail professionals agreed technology has enabled retailers to bring in new products from around the world more quickly
· Familiarity of video collaboration ranked at 59%, suggesting there is still opportunity to educate the wider industry as to the potential for video technology in retail
· 40% of those asked said they recognised the overall benefit video collaboration could bring to their organisation
· A quarter thought video collaboration would form part of their organisation’s future plans
· Time (22%) and cost savings (17%) were seen as the key reason to implement video collaboration technology
Technology has changed the face of retail by enhancing the shopping experience and creating new channels, such as e-commerce sites to provide a different and more varied shopping experience, said Cisco. Trends and fashion change at a rapid rate, making retail a fast moving market and one that needs to adapt quickly and efficiently to the tastes of its consumers.
Over 87% of the survey sample said technology has improved customer service, which has brought huge benefits across the organisation including (and not limited to) greater efficiencies (90%) and greater profitability (85%).
Chew said: “Historically retailers would have spent a large amount of time and money visiting suppliers in order to add to and enhance product lines. Video collaboration provides the ability to conduct real-time, face-to-face meetings virtually. It is changing the way retailers operate and presents a highly attractive proposition to the retail industry and a significant opportunity for Cisco to educate the market in its merits.”