Tomorrow’s Retail, Today

RetailerOver the last few years, the explosive growth of e-commerce has combined with the downturn in the economy to shift the centre of gravity from the retailer to the consumer and the problem retailers are facing now is how can they meet the demands of the more savvy customers in today’s digital world?

In the news in the last few days Tesco have been discussing their drop in profits, apparently in part due to the acquisition of space for yet to be built hypermarkets that are no longer required. The large stores just do not make commercial sense now the market has moved towards home delivery and convenience.

Customers now view current stock situations, compare prices and order goods from the comfort of their own home or while they are viewing the item they want to buy in store. They demand instant gratification, speedy delivery and total freedom of how they receive service. One bad experience can be shared with the world via the web so retailers stand to lose not only that customer but could lose hundreds, possibly thousands. In response to this new competitive landscape, today’s leading retailers are proactively leveraging their workforce as a competitive differentiator.

With multi-channel retailing now the norm, retailers who wish to retain customers, grow profits and remain competitive are looking to sophisticated workforce management solutions to help deliver a better customer experience, this need is discussed in a recent white paper: ‘Tomorrow’s Retail Today’ that looks at three key integrated workforce management tools; mobility, task management and analytics that can help turn labour into a strategic and powerful asset that drives revenue and growth.

New mobility tools such as mobile phones and iPads enable employees to juggle any number of tasks right on the store floor, executing tasks with agility, keeping costs low and customer satisfaction up.

• Employees can complete basic tasks such as checking their schedules, swap shifts, request time off, and registering attendance – improving employee engagement, reducing the effects of absent employees and simplifying administration associated with scheduling.
• Store managers can now have key workflow information at their fingertips and see up to the minute statistics on store and labour performance
• Corporate or field managers with the location facility of ipads will always have instant access wherever they may be that is relevant to the store or stores they are looking at or visiting.

Integrated task management enables employees to execute promotions, recalls, and other store tasks consistently, efficiently, and seamlessly so stores can be presented how customers prefer them — clean, organised, and well-stocked. Excellent store execution boosts customer loyalty, sales, and profitability.

According to McKinsey & Co retailers embracing Big Data could increase operating margin by more than 60%. Retailers have a wealth of information that is often locked inside the organisation. An analytics solution integrated into a workforce management suite empowers retailers with a holistic view of their businesses. Decision makers get access to flexible, real-time analytics turning data into actions that can be used to drive transformational change across the whole retail operation.

You can find out more by reading the whole white paper and as always, I would be interested to hear your views.

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