June 30, 2016

Labor needs for fulfillment are on the rise, but what about customer service?



Omnichannel has been on the minds of retailers for years, promising to help capture customers by allowing them to create their own path to purchase.  In many ways, it has done just that, letting consumers use the internet to become more educated about their purchases before they make them, compare prices and find the most convenient way to acquire the item they want.


Today, the omnichannel push is stronger than ever, but as top retailers know, bringing traffic to brick-and-mortar stores is just as important. Once shoppers are inside, they tend to spend more and purchase items on impulse.


With that goal in mind, many retailers have turned to in-store fulfillment as a way to give customers the convenience of online shopping yet still bring them to the store and possibly create another sale. But someone has to prepare those orders, and retailers are struggling to find the time to do that.


A recent study of retail labor by EKN indicated that, despite considering sales and customer service their top two objectives, the retailers surveyed devoted only 30 percent of labor hours to those efforts. Seventy percent of employees’ time is instead being spent on operations. With in-store fulfillment of online orders expected to rise in 2016, time to spend with customers is only headed down. 


With so much at stake, what can you do to create more time for both omnichannel fulfillment and in-store customer service? One way is to address currency management efficiency. Helping the experienced, high-value employees who are trusted to handle cash finish their tasks more quickly will give them more time to spend fulfilling orders and working with customers. Since 92 percent of shoppers who find a sales associate helpful will make a purchase, it’s important to get these employees in front of customers, not performing back office functions.


You might have already invested in tools designed to speed cash handling, but are you getting the most out of them?  A platform that integrates, manages and measures cash from top to bottom from the time a customer performs a transaction to receiving deposits at the bank — and everything in between — is the only way to see the big picture and truly understand the efficiency that can be gained by improving your currency management. Once you do, you’ll be able to create a well-oiled machine that allows your employees to shift their focus from operational tasks to the customer experience.




Image: iStock