As a retail store, creating a welcoming, enjoyable and comfortable environment for shoppers to peruse in is imperative. Retail continues to remain a highly competitive industry meaning that going above and beyond to provide a ‘one of a kind’ experience is key in encouraging customers to return.
With the continuous evolution in technology, trends and designs guaranteed to catch the eye of potential shoppers, owners, directors and managers are now provided with a plethora of ideas to revamp their premises. Those who are in the process of planning a well-executed store refurbishment or are moving into a new space must keep in mind the different considerations required in terms of cabling. Cabling is vital in not only providing customers with the highest level of service possible, but also to maximise profit for the business. To begin the planning process, there are a few critical cabling systems you may want to consider; these are the following:
- Point Of Sale (POS)
- Voice and Data Cabling
- Security and Access Control
- Video Surveillance
- WIFI Installations
- Fire Alarm Cabling
Why Consider Cabling Systems?
Cabling is a multiple-use system and is the main component in serving a variety of different infrastructures, all of which prove to be incredibly beneficial in pushing the success of your retail business. Before completing any renovation, you must understand the current cabling systems you have in place, along with how they affect the day-to-day operations of the business. Those who have been trading for many years in the same premises may, in fact, have outdated cabling systems that would benefit from a complete replacement. POS, security, video surveillance and fire alarm cabling are all essentials nowadays not only to guarantee sales, but also to ensure that employees and shoppers are never exposed to potential hazards.
Point Of Sale
Every store has a point of sale unit; it is one of, if not the most important cabling system and allows the store to trade on a daily basis. Not only does a point of sale unit enable staff members to process product or service transactions, but also keep track of all incomings and outgoings. They are key in recording sales, along with managing employees, inventory and customers. Overall, a point of sale unit is seen as an ‘all in one’ solution to a multitude of everyday issues your business may encounter. Human errors amount to a considerable percentage of wasted time and money which can be resolved through an advanced point of sale unit.
Using a point of sale unit will help to eliminate a vast number of issues as it accurately collects and records all store data. It provides a range of benefits to your business including detailed analysis of sales and stock takes. Due to the inventory management features, staff members are capable of determining how much stock the store has and how often stock needs to be reordered. This alone will enhance the customer experience as rather than having to leave the customer to check the stock room; you can search stock on the shop floor using the point of sale unit. You can also check stock sales monthly to outline how your business is currently performing and ways of improving it.
End of season sales often come alongside a substantial amount of stress and extra work to ensure that all channels are updated with the correct pricing; with a POS system, you can remove this hassle. POS systems can be programmed with the latest reductions on products, along with any limited time special offers. A programmed system excludes the need for staff members to calculate the difference in price and then manually add figures to the POS system, making transactions quicker. The quicker you can process transactions and serve the next customer; the more efficient your business will become. Although there has been a change in pricing, the POS system will continue to update your inventory for accurate stock records.
Last, but not least, a point of sale system proves increasingly beneficial in maintaining seamless employee management. Additional features such as a clock-in and clock-out tool can be programmed to help to manage working hours and payroll.
Voice and Data Cabling
Many years ago, when technology was less advanced, you would have to use a separate cabling system compared to your network cabling. As the popularity of the latest digital phones has continued to grow, many retail stores now opt to have both their POS system and phones connected via the same cable. Not only does a one-cable system help the ease of communication, but also stop any interference between lines.
Those who fit VoIP systems in their premises can enjoy improved mobility as both handsets, and mobile phones can be used. This is particularly beneficial on the shop floor and stock room, as team members can move around and check the sizing of items while on the phone. Calls can also be made from the shop floor to adjoining offices, stock rooms and staff rooms when needed meaning enhanced communications across the team.
Security and Access Control
Security and access controls can cover a range of cabling systems, but the one we believe to be most important to any business is the burglar alarm. Shoplifting is one of the most damaging issues that retail business owners face and unfortunately, even the most secure of premises fall victim to thieves.
There are so many things that store owners tend to forget when thinking about their burglar alarms. Your burglar alarms are there to detect anyone that may be trying to enter the premises when unauthorised to do so; ideal for catching shoplifters after trading hours. You can choose from a range of security solutions such as keypad entry, automatic electrical locks when someone leaves a room, along with listening detectors that know when there is broken glass or sensors that can detect radio frequency. Keypad entry is the most common security feature of retail premises and is always used to access the back end of the store. Team members will have to submit a unique code to be awarded entry of stock rooms, offices and staff rooms.
For more information about shop theft and stolen goods, take a look at the West Midlands Police website.
Cameras are your best friend when working in the retail industry; they allow you to check on staff in multiple locations on the shop floor and the stock room. As a manager or supervisor, it becomes incredibly tricky to keep track of the productivity of all team members, particularly on busy days such as weekends and over the festive period. Video surveillance means that you are always aware of how each team member is spending their time.
Linking back to our previous point on shoplifters, the ability to capture footage when you suspect a theft will help to solve the case quicker. Cases can be taken to higher authorities, and culprits can be charged with the offence if there is adequate evidence.
There is always the ongoing joke about partners queueing up outside of a store twiddling their thumbs waiting for their other half to finish shopping. Well, opting to equip your premises with WIFI will not only be highly appreciated by them, but it will also work towards your advantage to push sales.
WIFI allows your business to begin to advance processes, providing your customers with in-store online orders if they hope to get their hands on an item that you do not have in stock. It will also help to find items that customers have seen on your website and are hoping to pick up in store. Staff members can browse the website from the shop floor to help to improve customer service further. With great WIFI network installations, you can also cover a large area without having any interruptions to speed and downloads.
Fire Alarm Cabling
UK fire alarm regulations currently state that any business premises, no matter the size, must have an appropriate fire detection system to guarantee the safety of both employees and shoppers.
There is now a range of different fire alarm cabling systems available to fit a variety of requirements. A conventional fire alarm tends to be an option that the majority of retail business owners opt for as all devices can be connected via the same cabling system. Addressable fire alarms are also available which allows each device to have their own unique address, along with wireless fire alarms which use a secure wireless link between the sensors and the fire alarm panel.
Similarly to any other business, those who work in the retail industry must also carry out regular fire drills to ensure that all staff members are aware of the fire exits and meeting points. As there is often a high staff turnover in retail, you may benefit from a fire drill after each new member joins. All details in regards to commercial fire drills can be found on the GOV.UK website.
If you would like more information on fire safety regulations, take a look at the Legislation.gov.uk website.
Enhance Your Store Using Cabling Systems!
Tracking down and implementing the correct cabling systems will play a huge part in streamlining business processes, improving staff productivity and boosting sales profit. All cabling systems mentioned come alongside different benefits for your business, whether this may be to enhance customer service and experience or improve the safety of those within the premises. The ability to consistently track business growth means that you can then put more accurate plans in place to push the success of your store.
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