Due to a significant shift in consumer demands, the world of retail is changing like never before. The consumers crave for a fast, seamless and an effective shopping experience, offered by brands like Amazon Go. Using the same type of technology found in self-driving cars, Amazon Go offers a new kind of shopping experience with “No Checkout” required. Thanks to the app, you can enter the store, pick the products you want and just leave. When you leave the store with your items, your Amazon account is charged and you are sent a receipt. The technology they use, detects when products are taken or returned to the shelves.
Welcome to the world of revolutionary retail where the main focus is on streamlining your retail operations, so that you can concentrate on growing your business and keeping your customers happy.
Let us talk about the need to optimise your retail business efficiently-:
It’s a tough world for the retailers :
This is a particular tough time for the retailers. With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting businesses across all verticals, retailers are struggling to survive. They face a number of challenges- increasing business costs, economic instability, rise in customer expectations, as well as dipping consumer confidence. It is with this context that retailers have to do their best to reduce waste, optimise resources, as well as streamline business processes to save both time and money.
Now, it’s time to examine the ways to optimize retail efficiency :
1) Embracing the new operational technologies :
Retailers should be open to accept new technologies and data analytics to improve efficiency, increase profitability and enhance customer experience. This will enable a retailer to redefine his brand, based on the shopping experience of his customers. A report in Entrepreneur says that conventional retail has been mistakenly treating technology as the enemy for a long time, while it should have been considered as the tool for innovation. Some disruptive technologies that modern retailers can benefit from are :
Geo-fencing and beacon : Retailers are installing in-store beacons for location-based marketing to woo customers.
Data-driven customer targeting : Companies like Intellect Commerce build softwares to identify customer behaviour, preferences, demographics, as well as profiles, with the help of data to help retailers give their consumers a personalised experience.
Artificial Intelligence : In-store stylist robots, virtual shopping assistants and bot-managed billing counters are increasingly being used to streamline functions such as stocking, store layout, gathering data and product presentation.
These technologies provide a huge amount of customer and operational data, along with holistic cross-channel picture to help you make informed business decisions.
Let us see how technology can help in the evolution of consumer journey by this example of a future store predicted by McKinsey & Company.
Lily, who swears by vegan diet, checks the website of her favourite grocery shop and ensures that all the products she wants are available. As soon as she enters the store, the system is alerted with her presence by the facial recognition technology that she has signed up for and her smart phone gets connected to the store’s Wi-Fi. She then scans her phone to their system so that they get a copy of her shopping list. As she walks the aisles, the smart shelf displays illuminate to show the location of things she wants, along with other things that are in schemes, offers or go well with what she wants. Then, she scans the package of the items with her phone to know about its nutritional constituents. When she is satisfied, she walks out of the store with the items without having to stand at the checkout counter as her credit card details are already stored in the system.
2) Inventory accuracy systems :
When there is so much competition in the retail industry, it becomes an imperative for retailers to not lose customers due to inaccurate inventory. Hence, accurate real-time inventory is the need of the hour so that they can provide correct information to the consumers and help them with stock finder service if a particular product they want is not available with you. This helps in customer trust and satisfaction.
3) Optimise the layout of your warehouse :
To ensure speed and efficiency, it is important to optimise your warehouse layout. For example,shipping data can give you insights on the most sold products. So, you can position this item in places that they will be picked and packaged fastest. Also, implement correct labeling of the products to ensure that the logistics team can work with speed and efficiency with minimum errors.
4) Sensors and tags to reduce theft :
When there is a loss in inventory due to thefts, shoplifting, administrative or paperwork errors, it can be a cause of worry. To curb theft, retailers can go for special sensors or tags that can be added to each item and deactivated at checkout. Usually these tags or sensors have a serial number on them which is encoded into the inventory management system. Once a customer purchases an item, this tag is scanned and the system updates that the item has been purchased and is removed from the store.
5) Smart packaging :
Earlier, the emphasis was on making the packaging, appealing. Now, it is important to ensure that the packaging is smart and attractive. Smart packaging means keeping other things like temperature and moisture level. In recent years, companies have started to consider packaging as an important issue. It is necessary to study and analyse the characteristics of the packaging like shape, size, durability and material used to minimise their cost. Packaging concerns all activities of a company- right from purchasing of raw material, production, transportation, distribution and the sale of the final product.
6) Automate your omnichannel workflow :
Put in place a process that allows you to automate your workflows, so that you don’t have to spend hours in mundane admin tasks. You can utilise that time on other areas of your business.
Intellect Commerce enables you to perform administrative work faster and efficiently so that you can save both time and money.
With the help of these tips, you can optimise your retail operations for business success. For more information, ask for a free demo of the iRetail software, that will enable you to run your business operations smoothly and efficiently.