UK retailers wasting £90,000 on legacy telephony each year


This article is brought to you by Retail Technology Review: UK retailers wasting £90,000 on legacy telephony each year.

New research reveals that the average retailer is wasting almost £90,000 a year on unnecessary and out-dated telephony systems.

Working in association with research agency Censuswide, TalkTalk Business surveyed over 1,000 business decision makers for their report into business IP Voice adoption, and found that more than a third (38%) of the UK's retailers are still using legacy ISDN telephone lines.

This ageing technology lacks the flexibility businesses increasingly require to meet seasonal demands, and is also significantly more expensive than newer alternatives. At a time when controlling costs is firmly back on retailers' agendas, the report reveals that many could save an average of £88,671 a year simply by switching to IP Voice.

Retailers paying for idle lines

With traditional ISDN, retailers need to buy individual lines to scale up to meet peaks such as Black Friday or the seasonal sales. This often means that these lines go unused during the rest of the year – 39% of the retailers surveyed reported having ISDN lines that are left unused for more than a month each year, incurring unnecessary line rental costs. IP Voice allows the number of active lines to be scaled up or down in a matter of minutes, eliminating the problem of idle lines.

Of the almost two-thirds (62%) of retailers that had already made the switch to IP Voice technologies such as SIP or Hosted Voice, the main driver was the cost savings it offers, with 68% of firms citing this as one of their key motivations for switching. With retailers spending an average of £246,000 on telephony each year, these savings can be substantial.

ISDN will be switched off in 2025

Guy Miller, Director of Next Generation Voice at TalkTalk Business commented: "The year ahead was already set to be a challenging one for the UK's retailers, with inflation set to hit consumer spending and confidence. Compounded by the government's controversial revaluation of business rates, retailers are now looking at any areas where they can further control costs. Upgrading to IP Voice can provide retailers with a win-win, reducing costs and waste from IT budgets while introducing greater flexibility, higher call quality, and less downtime."

TalkTalk Business' research also reveals a lack of awareness among retailers that the ISDN phone lines, which many are still relying on, will soon be obsolete. A quarter of the decision makers at retailers surveyed were not aware that the ISDN network will be switched off in 2025, with IP Voice-based services taking its place.

Guy Miller continues: "Retailers still have time before ISDN is switched off completely in eight years, but with the significant savings that their competitors are already making by moving to IP Voice services such as SIP, we are surprised that so many have let inertia get in the way until this point."

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