We all wish we had more time. But the problem with time is that we can’t just make more hours appear from thin air. We each get 24 hours a day, so it’s vital we use those hours to our advantage. However, the busier you are, the less time you seem to have. And in fast-paced industries such as retail, a lack of time can become a huge problem.
Retail managers, in particular, spend a large portion of their working hours performing a balancing act between employees, customers, and a seemingly limitless to-do list. And with the current COVID-19 pandemic, retail managers and workers are under even more time pressure to support the nation in the coming weeks.
To help you out, Love Energy Savings has put together a selection of the best time-saving apps available that are guaranteed to transform the way you manage your time to get those important "to-dos" ticked off even faster:
1. When I Work
Price: Free for up to 75 employees.
Ensuring enough staff are on shift at your store, cafe or restaurant during working hours can be a challenge, especially if you have a large team. When I Work is here to help.
When I Work is a staff rota app that can be used on mobile devices. It’s free for teams of 75 people or less, and paid options are available for larger teams. Employees are able to share their availability with managers so a shift schedule can easily be put together. Once you’ve created a schedule, hit "Send" and it will be emailed to all employees.
However, the best time-saving feature of this app is how it manages shift-swapping. Employees can message each other within the app to see if they can swap shifts. Once they’ve reached an agreement, all a manager needs to do is approve the change.
2. Zoho Inventory
Price: £0 - £150 depending on company requirement
Managing inventory is one of the biggest tasks every retail manager has to complete; it’s also one of the most time consuming. So, what can managers do to streamline their inventory process?
Zoho is a cloud-based inventory control system that automatically updates your inventory quantities whenever a sale is made, eliminating the margin for error. You can also ensure your inventory is fully organized by adding vital details such as the price, cost and availability of each item. Furthermore, you can create variants of items based on custom options.
Another great Zoho feature is that you have the option to bundle certain items together that can be sold as a single unit. Zoho automatically updates individual items as they're put together and sold.
You even have the option to monitor the expiration dates of each product, enabling you to sell items with a shorter lifetime first. This helps to avoid wasting stock and makes it much quicker to reorder items.
Price: Free - £100 per month
Managing payroll can be a nightmare when employees aren’t correctly clocking in and out for their shifts. Connecteam streamlines the entire clocking in process, while allowing managers to keep track of where their staff are and what they’re working on.
It’s an employee management app that employees and managers can use to clock in and out, request time off, access past and current timesheets, and add notes about tasks, all while on the go. You also have the option to add staff contacts to an employee directory, which means staff can stay in touch at any time, regardless of who is on shift.
Additionally, your employees can engage with you privately to request information, raise HR issues, ask for IT support, and get sign off on any decisions. It’s really easy to use, and is a great tool for keeping staff motivated and engaged.
Price: Free for up to five users, paid plans available for larger teams.
One key responsibility any retail manager has is to ensure that every employee is properly trained and that they understand as much about their role and the business they work for as possible. The issue is that there’s only one of you and a lot of them. That’s where Atrivity steps in.
Atrivity is basically a quiz game that employees can play on their phone, answering questions that are specifically about the company they work for.
You take the training material you would normally spend time distributing to employees and instead create a quiz that you can share with your team. You can include questions and information about any topic you wish, from competitors to compliance to sales tactics and product details. Atrivity offers templates that help you create the quizzes quickly, and you can also offer prizes to the winners to help motivate staff. Once your team has completed a quiz, you can review the game results. That way, you can quickly see who knows the most, who learns the fastest, and which topics should be revisited.
5. Dynamic Pricing
Price: Custom depending on business type and size.
Every retailer wants to offer their customers the best deal on their products. With so much competition in the market, ensuring prices are as low as possible while still making a profit is critical. Omnia’s Dynamic Pricing tool enables you to do just that.
You start by setting up a strategy and pricing rules that suit your business. Once you’ve done that, as a fully automated system, Dynamic Pricing then uses your internal data and competitor pricing data to calculate prices, which it then adjusts for you. This means you’ll never have to worry about beating out your competitors and still making a profit on any items you sell.
Additionally, with Dynamic Pricing, you’ll never be left in the dark when it comes to knowing why it calculated a specific price. You can simply press the "Show Me Why" button and you’ll see every rule that it followed in order to reach a pricing decision.
Phil Foster is CEO of Love Energy Savings, the multi-award-winning price comparison experts.
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