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The Importance of Two Way Radios in the Retail Sector

Two way radio systems in retail have been a success story throughout the UK over the last decade. There can barely be a town/shopping centre in the UK without a radio system operating. These systems have ultimately led to retailers reducing stock loss, improving productivity and delivering better customer service.

Two way radio provides instant communication between employees allowing staff to be in contact with each other and allowing them to assist customer quickly and effectively.

Radios are used in many different ways in a retail environment:

Improving Floor management…especially at peak seasonal times. In smaller retail outlets, employees often have to do multiple jobs e.g. customer service, stacking shelves. Should the store get busy, the worker can be informed by radio to help out at a checkout.

Checking Product Availability. Rather than running and checking for availability of a product yourself, you can simply use a radio to contact a member of stores staff to see if a product is available….saving on time.

Price checks. Radios allow staff to check un/mispriced products quickly cutting down on the time that the customer is waiting at the checkout…thus avoiding long queues.

Loss prevention and security. Two way radios are ideal to keep the team and security informed of any possible shop lifters or anyone also acting suspiciously. In a retail network environment, this is especially useful in aiding a conviction.

Health & Safety. If someone has an accident in the store, two way radios allow the team to attend to the shopper and get necessary help as quickly as possible…whether it means getting the first aider or getting a message through to get someone to phone for an ambulance.

Cleaning up Spills. If you have a spill or item dropped, this can be quickly addressed by using two way radio to alert the relevant department.

Radios ultimately lead to increased efficiency of your business. So if you are looking for a two way radio system, what should you consider?

Considerations for a two way radio system

<b>Considerations for a two way radio system </b>

Type of radio: For a smaller store so you don’t necessarily need the most powerful radio available so a PMR446 may be appropriate. Small, lightweight and no licence fee required. Enough channels for a small business.

With a larger store, you may look at a licenced UHF 4 watt solution for greater overall range. You normally have the ability to assign multi channels for different departments (management/security /stores etc.), encryption and health and safety features such as Mandown function. In a way your choice is defined by the size of the store and the number of staff.

Radio using Wi-Fi?: If a store has full Wi-Fi coverage, an IP radio system would be an excellent solution. An IP radio system enables you to quickly establish a high-quality radio comms network by plugging in a control server to the wireless network. It will allow you to make group and individual calls via the network and control the entire system through a PC using a Dispatcher. The Dispatcher has a map feature which makes it easy to see where your employees are in the store. If connected over an Internet VPN, the system can communicate between different stores....even in different cities.

Coverage: Coverage is always an important issue and you may require a site survey to assess if there are any black spots or dead zones within your premises. If there are, then you may have to consider either a repeater. If you have full Wi-Fi coverage, an IP radio system may be the solution.

Battery Life: Battery life is an important issue and a good lithium ion battery should last well past the shift. A fast multi charger is desirable so that you can have spare batteries fresh for the next day’s shift.

Emergency functions: To assist a stores Health and Safety commitment, many radios feature emergency related functions such as man down and lone worker functions. If one of these functions is triggered, the transceiver automatically enters an emergency phase and activates the emergency.

Icom have a complete portfolio of analogue, digital and IP radio solutions to suit all requirements. From simple licence free radios to sophisticated radio systems with tracking and health and safety features, Icom can cater for all your two way radio requirements.

If you are interested in seeing our latest radio systems, contact our sales staff on 01227 741741 or via email at sales@icomuk.co.uk.

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