Instant Messaging in Retail

Instant messaging offers real-time communication and collaboration. Most systems allow the user to set an online status or away message so peers are notified when the user is available, busy, or away from the computer. On the other hand, people are not forced to reply immediately to incoming messages. For this reason, some people consider communication via instant messaging to be less intrusive than communication via phone. Presence technology allows people to establish the availability of others for real-time communications regardless of their location. This has proved invaluable in time-sensitive business processes such as customer service, regulatory issues, crisis management and problem resolution.

Office Communicator 2007 is a unified communications client that helps people be more productive by enabling them to communicate easily with others in different locations or time zones using a range of different communication options, including instant messaging (IM), voice, and video. Integration with programs across the 2007 Microsoft Office system — including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Groove, and SharePoint Server — gives information workers many different ways to communicate with each other via a consistent and simple user experience.

Office Communications Server 2007 delivers streamlined communications for your users so they can find and communicate with the right person, right now, from the applications they use most.


For all the advantages that come with selling on the Web, one disadvantage has constrained online merchants: They haven't been able to approach customers as they're shopping and pitch them on the spot. But live chat programs are beginning to change that, augmenting the IM functions with new surveillance capabilities that allow retailers to track, in real time, what pages you're visiting and what links you've clicked. See Full Story on Business 2.0


Giant Eagle, one of the largest food retailers and distributors in the United States, instigated a corporate cost-saving initiative to transition 700 of its employees to home-based offices. To ensure that these teleworkers stay well connected with their colleagues in Giant Eagle offices, stores, and warehouses, the company implemented a unified communications solution based on Microsoft® Office Communications Server 2007 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 with Unified Messaging. Integrated voice over IP, instant messaging (IM), Web conferencing, and presence helps employees stay productive and streamlines communication. In addition, the company experienced a fast, easy adoption process in which employees were conducting online conferences and communicating with IM on the same day of the deployment. Read Case Study


Travel Counsellors, headquartered in England, sells a range of vacation packages to global customers. The company employs more than 900 people, most of whom are travel agents working from home offices all over the world. These employees regularly use e-mail, instant messaging, and the company’s extensive intranet system to communicate with each other and the main office. However, they did not have an efficient way of determining colleague availability for calls and video conferences. In addition, the company did not want agents to feel isolated, even while working from home. Travel Counsellors deployed Microsoft® Office Communications Server 2007, an integrated communications solution. Agents can now communicate and collaborate better and are more productive as a result. The company is also able to save time and money that had previously been spent on agent sales training. Read Case Study


I love the fact that instant messaging opens new means of communication for people that have an impairment in hearing, auditory processing, or speech. It is considered by many a powerful way to allow equal opportunities in communication, without the aid of special devices or services designed for users with hearing loss. 






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