March 9, 2017

Improving retail efficiency: 6 ways you might have missed

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The introduction of credit cards and mobile payment didn’t mean people suddenly stopped paying for things in cash. Likewise, the introduction of self-checkouts and digital reporting didn’t mean retail workers became obsolete. Far from it.

 

The true benefit of automation technology in retail isn’t that it can reduce the need for certain jobs altogether — it’s that the technology can take over the most mundane, time-consuming, error-prone aspects of those jobs, freeing up workers’ time for things that need a human touch. Because a computer can count money much more quickly and accurately than a person, that person has extra time to spend greeting shoppers, handling cash and providing customer service with a smile.

 

When you let technology take care of back office tasks so your employees can focus on customer experience, your whole operation will run more efficiently. Introducing these technologies, however, can be overwhelming. The automation options available to retailers are plentiful, and the things that make sense for one enterprise might not make sense for another.

 

If you’re looking for ways to gain a competitive advantage and provide the best experience for your customers, here are six things you might not have considered:

 

    1. Accountability
      Is cashier accountability or lane accountability more appropriate for your operation? Here are some things to consider about how each option affects your back office tasks and three pieces of advice for efficient operation, no matter which method you choose.

    2. Delayed reporting
      The thoroughness and timeliness of the reports you get from your stores is key to improving the efficiency and optimization of your enterprise. Understand how your reporting affects your bottom line by asking yourself these six questions.

    3. Cash back services
      Cash back services can give you a competitive advantage and boost your customer experience  if you do it right. Here’s how to make sure cash back doesn’t become a burden on your back office.

    4. Minimum wage increases
      Minimum wage rates are starting to rise in many cities and states across the nation, but you need to retain your best employees for quality customer experience. It’s okay – the increase in payroll doesn’t have to mean disaster for your stores. Here’s how optimized currency management can offset your increased labor spend.
    5. Smart safes and cash recyclers
      Are smart safes and cash recyclers right for your business? Maybe – but they’re not miracle security devices. Ask yourself these questions to determine how these devices could fit into your currency management strategy.

    6. Store virtualization
      Each of your locations has a variety of processes, devices and employees to account for. If the systems you’re running can’t communicate effectively, you’re likely losing efficiency in the back office and at corporate. Store virtualization can help.

No matter how smoothly you think your stores are running, there’s always room for improvement. To stay ahead of the competition, both online and offline, you’ll need to optimize every aspect of your organization. Consider these six lesser-known paths to efficiency as you look for ways to reduce time spent and errors made in the back office – your customers will thank you.

 

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Image: iStock