The sun is still high in the sky, and the fun of summer is not over yet, but the start of the school year is just around the corner, and that means buying school supplies and new clothes and shoes for students of all ages, kindergarten through college. For retailers, this back-to-school mad rush offers an opportunity for abundant sales and repeat customers that carries through to Black Friday.
By all accounts, that opportunity is a strong one in 2017. According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, back-to-college spending is expected to hit an all-time high and back-to-school spending is trending to see its second-highest spending level. According to the survey, shoppers for grades K-12, plan to spend $4.9 billion on school supplies, $8.8 billion on electronics, $10.2 billion on clothing, and $5.6 billion on shoes.
However, just as interesting as what parents are planning to buy is from where they are planning to buy. 57 percent plan to shop at department stores and 54 percent at discount stores, and not surprisingly 46 percent of back-to-school shoppers will conduct some or all of their shopping online. Those shopping online plan to take advantage of free shipping and over a half of respondents will buy online and pick up in-store.
As online shopping continues to attract more consumers, offering a way to compare prices, read online reviews and get items shipped quickly, it is even more critical to build customer loyalty. Be sure to deliver a superior experience with shoppers who come to your store even if it’s just to pick up an online purchase. How do you ensure that the customer has an all-around great experience from the moment they walk through your door? The answer is: communication. By equipping associates with discreet two-way radios, you provide instant communications between the sales and support team and management, allowing even the greenest employee to find the information they need and share it with the customer quickly. This instantaneous connectivity also ensures they can respond quickly in a case of emergency keeping both customers and staff safe.
Business radios from Motorola Solutions are small, lightweight and easy to use, providing clear, strong audio and seamless communications. By connecting the sales, inventory, and management teams, you can provide superior service to the customer and increase their likelihood to return to your store and experience it again.
So even though the forecast for back to school shopping is positive, are you prepared to take full advantage of that opportunity? Is your staff equipped to communicate instantly once the customer walks through your door? Are you providing an experience that will lure weary (and wary) consumers off the Internet and into your store? From the Back to School season to the final exams of Black Friday and the holidays, make sure your staff is ready to excel and keep bringing those customers back.
Click here to learn more about our Retail Communications Solutions.
Aleksandra Ikanowicz is a Vertical Marketing Lead for Commercial Markets at Motorola Solutions.
A hotel manager is looking for a communication solution for her housekeeping and security teams. A manufacturing plant is looking for PTT devices and accessories for their floor supervisors and workers on the manufacturing line. Depending on your role, communication needs, and industry, the right device, for the right user, and at the right time can completely change. The new MOTOTRBO Solution Finder radically simplifies the experience of researching and selecting the right solution for your needs.
With answers to only a few questions (industry; number of users; number of sites; number of departments; and communication needs), Solution Finder helps you understand the optimal MOTOTRBO solution for their needs and provides the appropriate device and accessory options to quickly build an equipment list that can be submitted for quotation. After requesting more information, Motorola Solutions will connect you with one of our Valued Resellers to validate the best solution for your organization.
Industry trends have shown, as well as our own personal habits, that most buyers prefer to do their own research before they ever walk into a store or speak with a sales representative. This new tool helps you explore our vast portfolio, while building a solution that fits your organization’s needs. Whether you are a school principal, a truck driver, or a maintenance technician, we have the perfect MOTOTRBO solution for you and your teams!
Liam King is Global Marketing Manager for Commercial Devices at Motorola Solutions
At SchoolSAFE, we get many questions about school safety, best practices, and how to make communities more savvy in how they prepare for emergencies. We recently received several great inquiries about school safety practices from SchoolSAFE users, including: how do school districts handle preventative maintenance for emergencies? And, are first responders and school districts required to participate in training together to become SchoolSAFE Certified?
Every school district is unique in their planning and execution of safety practices. One of our best examples of preparation and proactivity is in Pueblo, Colorado. The school district started by discussing various all-hazards scenarios at each school and referred to the district’s crisis plans to effectively respond. By doing so, administrators, teachers, and local public safety agencies were able to discover, mold, and develop best practices for teamwork day-to-day and during emergencies. They later learned that their ultimate tool for effective teamwork is the two-way radio in the schools. It enables each school to connect directly with professional responders and district personnel, putting everyone on a reliable, common channel to expedite the response.
First responders came to the table and provided their input on how the school could improve their response. They focused on the initial trigger to the incident - lock down, lock out, evacuate or shelter, how and when the schools call 9-1-1, and how to evaluate a situation and share information “in real time.” Through the SchoolSAFE Certified Ready Schools Program by Motorola Solutions, relationships between school personnel and first responders flourished. The program required teamwork and training for all entities involved, FCC licensed radios, the SchoolSAFE physical network that bridges the channels together, tactical interoperable communications exercises, and continuing education throughout the partnership.
We have seen that decision-makers in both the school district and public safety grasp the importance of working together to create the most effective and timely response.
Do your students and community a favor, and share this information with your school or district. We need to work together to help fund and implement the technologies and procedures that enable teamwork among school and district-based responders as well as professional public safety responders. We are here to help your community discuss, plan, and implement your next steps. We appreciate educators and first responders for all that they do and for reaching out to us on this very important subject.
Contact us to learn more about how you can bring SchoolSAFE to your district.
Patrick Hobby is the Founder and President of SchoolSAFE Communications, a Motorola Solutions Partner.
Finding money for technology solutions can be a bit of a head-scratcher. Do you have the budget? No? How can you find funds to support the proposal? Grants? So what grants are available?
In order to help our customers fund the various implementations of SchoolSAFE throughout the country, we’ve had to be rather resourceful. SchoolSAFE enhances community partnerships by providing schools the ability to communicate directly and in real-time with law enforcement, fire and EMS during an incident. As schools across the nation evaluate and look to improve the level of safety district-wide, oftentimes budgets are the barrier.
Over 260 schools districts nationwide have been able to implement SchoolSAFE, often with very creative financing methods. One district was able to raise money for SchoolSAFE with fundraising events. Another followed the cost-share model, asking each participating entity to fund a small piece of the total proposal, rather than relying on one organization to pay for the entire project. Another school found funds through the E-911 Authority Board since SchoolSAFE helps dispatchers and communications centers keep their communities and children safe.
However, when those options are not available where else can you find funding? Motorola Solutions partners with EducationGrantsHelp, a division of Praetorian Digital, offering a comprehensive solution to help schools secure grant funding. The Grant Assistance Program through EducationGrantsHelp is free for Motorola customers. Not only do they actively seek out available grants through various sources (government grants, corporate grants, private entity grants, etc), they will review grants in the writing process and provide invaluable input. For Motorola customers, grant writing is also available for a discounted fee.
The success rate is quite impressive, too. Currently, their grant writing success rate is 60% higher than the national average.
We are extremely excited about working with this group. With their expertise and guidance, we will be able to help find the monies needed to improve communications between schools and first responders. You can get the same assistance, too.
To request free grant assistance for your organization, visit www.educationgrantshelp.com/motorola
Tori Tucker is the Marketing Director at SchoolSAFE Communications
Welcome guest blogger Micah Richardson, Director of Security and Operations at SE Christian Church and School and a customer of SchoolSAFE Communications, a Motorola Solutions partner.
This past June, The Briefings, A National School Safety Symposium at Columbine High School, invited SchoolSAFE Communications to present on the importance of direct communication with first responders.
The symposium was hosted by the I Love You Guys Foundation, a non-profit created to “restore and protect the joy of youth through educational programs and positive actions in collaboration with families, schools, communities, organizations and government entities.”
SchoolSAFE’s presentation featured radio communications from the perspective of a district safety director, sheriff’s office bureau chief, and a boots-on-the-ground responder.
The Briefings is an annual and week-long event, featuring nationally recognized speakers and experts on school safety, “examines lessons learned from traumatic events and reveals new preemptive school safety measures.” Attendees included school safety team members, administrators, first responders, victims’ advocates, and volunteers.
Micah Richardson is Director of Security and Operations at SE Christian Church and School and a customer of SchoolSAFE. He is part of the 87 schools utilizing the SchoolSAFE program in Douglas County, Colorado.
When it comes to our children’s education and safety, community partnerships are crucial. School personnel are responsible for their students’ well-being, and they work with their local organizations and agencies to encourage learning, volunteerism, leadership, and most importantly, to keep their students safe. Educational staff should work hand-in-hand with emergency first responders to help ensure that every aspect of school safety is planned, practiced, and they’re ready for anything.
SchoolSAFE helps to facilitate those relationships, as seen at an interoperability training a few weeks ago at Indianapolis’ Herron High School. The meeting brought administrators, school safety team members, and representatives from Marion County Sheriff’s Office and Public Safety Communications to the training table. They discussed best practices of connecting the school’s MOTOTRBO two-way radios with first responders’ APX P25 two-way radios during an emergency. During a crisis, first responders have the ability to open a direct line of communication with the school personnel and safety team members in order to provide them with additional support on a secure, reliable network.
“The staff at Herron High School is always working to make the school safer and the SchoolSAFE program really shines a spotlight on our communications throughout the school and within the community,” said Tim Porter, Director of Operations at Herron High School. “Knowing that Herron High School can have real time information flow during an emergency on radios between our trained safety team at the school and public safety is a relief.”
The training session concluded with the school and first responders enthusiastic to continue the discussion on how best to work together. “These are conversations that absolutely need to happen,” said Porter.
SchoolSAFE encourages and supports ongoing and sustained training as part of the Certified Ready program. The SchoolSAFE Certified Ready Schools Network Program by Motorola includes:
To learn more about SchoolSAFE, their on-going training, and to download your free School Safety Toolkit, visit www.motorolasolutions.com/schoolsafe.
Tori Tucker is Training Manager at SchoolSAFE Communications.