Whatever convenience e-commerce provides, it can never replace the in-person shopping experience. Therefore, it’s no surprise that consumers are returning to brick-and-mortar shops as the economy slowly recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and more retailers offer in-store shopping.
How Does This Impact the Retail Industry?
Increased consumer traffic could lead to a new outbreak if retailers aren't careful. Additionally, this can spell disaster for them — and their customers — if proper management and store planning are not in place.
Getting back to regular operations can be a whole new obstacle for retailers. In addition to existing challenges, retailers are currently facing numerous pending tasks, limited staff, and changing customer behavior.
A Mobile Retail Management Solution for Consistency and Efficiency
A difficult in-store experience can discourage customers from returning, and the pandemic has made managing retail operations more challenging than before. As a result, retailers must use new technology to streamline their processes and deliver an excellent customer experience. A cloud-based retail management solution facilitates and simplifies the following retail functions:
- Remote monitoring: Retailers need to monitor in-store processes, such as shelf replenishment, to act quickly and maintain the level of quality necessary to please returning customers. Moreover, real-time information eliminates inaccuracies.
- Standardized checklists: Due to a varying number of employees staffing each store location, service quality tends to be inconsistent. Having standardized checklists for various aspects of retail management, such as maintenance and inventory, can help achieve consistency and adherence to protocols — translating into better customer service. For example, creating a COVID-19 checklist provides insight into what the staff can do to safeguard themselves and customers at every store. The checklist ensures that all retail outlets follow the general COVID-19 guidelines.
- Task management: Task allocation, monitoring, and completion are some of the most difficult parts of managing a retail store. Managers need to determine which employees are available to perform a task, and employees need to notify their superiors once a job is complete. A cloud-based retail management solution can assign action plans, track progress, and help retailers manage their stores more effectively — allowing headquarters to track the progress of each outlet using just the platform.
- Compliance is another difficulty for multilocation stores, however, auditing is a proven way to guarantee it. Manual auditing is time consuming, error prone and costly, but by automating this process, employees can attend to other valuable tasks. Automation reduces the likelihood of human error and increases efficiency for repetitive tasks. Collated data will also show up on a cloud-based platform, giving upper management immediate access.
- Video calls: The shop floor can be a battlefield and, with the pandemic still ongoing, stores need to provide a safe, yet collaborative atmosphere. Employees should have access to a digital platform where they can interact with others across the organization. This allows for quick actions and knowledge sharing, which will increase cooperation and motivate employees.
Boris Shkolnikov is the co-founder and CTO of QVALON, a mobile retail management solution designed to eliminate wasteful paper-based processes, repetitive tasks, and inefficiencies that frontline teams and headquarters face regularly.