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‘Tis the Season for Better Retail Industry Communications

Leaves are changing colors. The air is crisp. Days are getting shorter. As another calendar page turns, we edge closer to that magical time –the holidays–the busiest season of the year for retail businesses.

Expectations are high for 2015. Deloitte projects sales will top $965 billion between November and January, a 4% increase over last year. Though cash registers may be ringing more this year, resiliency managers within retail organizations can’t drop their guard. Instead, they must maintain diligence in the face of unexpected threats that can turn an otherwise joyous season into a major business disruption.

As retail professionals prepare for the holidays, it’s an appropriate time to consider how a mass notification system can help keep the season bright. Consider these helpful tips:

Use emergency notification system capabilities to protect employees. When faced with dangerous situations ranging from a severe storm to an active shooter, rapid and accurate communication can mean the difference between a positive outcome and a tragedy.

Emergency/mass notification systems enable managers to send alerts through virtually any device, warning employees of an unfolding event while giving them appropriate instructions. With two-way communication features, employees can even respond to questions such as “Are you OK?” providing a clear employee accountability solution.
In threatening circumstances, employees look to management for guidance and protection. Emergency notification systems can be invaluable tools for enhancing their safety and security.

Utilize mass notification to manage time-sensitive operational situations such as product recalls. Corporations have a responsibility to act quickly in removing harmful products when health or safety concerns materialize. However, store manager communications can be hit-or-miss when conducted through outdated, manual methods.
With mass notification technology, recall alerts can be disseminated rapidly through multiple channels. Further, all communication activities can be tracked via real-time online reports. This allows corporate professionals to know which store managers have received and acknowledged the instructions, and which have not.

Use automated mass notification to deal with routine employee staffing challenges. During the busy holiday season, retail establishments rely on part-time, often newly-hired, employees to fill temporary positions. This can create scheduling headaches, particularly when a worker doesn’t show up to work as expected.

Mass notification systems can be used to both gather information on employee work intentions for the upcoming day/week, or for easily finding replacement workers. In the latter case, the solution can be set to call all off-duty employees and ask for help. When the appropriate number of replacement workers is found, the system will stop its outreach attempts.

Don’t procrastinate. Time is passing quickly, and it may be tempting to postpone investments of time and resources in launching a notification service. However, with an intuitive and well-supported solution, you can actually be up and running quickly.

While we’re still a few weeks away from the full-blown start of the holiday season, now is the time to seriously consider your crisis and routine communications approach. Don’t take a chance on negatively impacting your company’s most critical quarter by struggling with inadequate communications.