Ensuring Retail Compliance During Disruptive Times
The pandemic has forced retailers to change so much about how their stores operate and function. From implementing new cleanliness and safety procedures to modifying how certain items are displayed and sold, these changes aren’t simple to carry out. These programs have to be seamlessly rolled out across hundreds or thousands of stores, and thousands of employees have to be trained to manage them.
Back when the pandemic started, rolling out these changes was a messy and difficult process. For retailers that had to quickly roll out curbside pickup, BOPIS, and ship-from-store across their chains, they had to not only modify their store layouts to manage these processes, but also show front-line employees how to fulfill orders quickly and correctly. When implementing something this complicated at such a fast pace, mistakes are inevitable.
This is a problem that retailers will face whenever they meet disruption. New processes have to be put in place during severe weather events such as hurricanes or wildfires, during periods of civil unrest, or simply as a response to changes in customer behavior. Fixing mistakes quickly and efficiently is a critical part of ensuring that these new processes work properly and that customers have a great retail experience.
Improving Compliance with Store Auditing Solutions
Intelligent store auditing solutions provide an easy way to ensure that your stores are following best practices and are compliant with important policies and regulations. By rapidly identifying areas of noncompliance and immediately triggering follow-up actions for relevant associates, store managers and front-line employees can make best practice fixes, ensuring that uncovered problems are resolved in a timely manner.
Take social distancing or other pandemic-related signage, for example. In these later stages of the pandemic, the CDC continues to issue new guidelines that require swapping out or modifying signage to better inform customers of how those guidelines affect store policy. If a store hasn’t changed their signage or has only changed some of it, customers may be confused or uncertain as to what store policy is and may become frustrated as a result.
With intelligent store auditing solutions, field managers are first able to view locations-based reports to understand how specific stores are performing overall, giving them the ability to prioritize visits. Then, with their mobile devices, they can drill down into specific functional areas, such as recording any noncompliance issues with pandemic-related signage, instantly launching follow-up tasks to the store manager, with specified priority levels to rectify the noncompliance.
Since audit results are digital, centralized and immediately visible across the organization, store managers and corporate stakeholders have real-time access to auditing data, as well as the status of follow-up tasks. If incorrect signage isn’t removed or replaced in a timely manner, it’s easy to follow up with the front-line employee responsible and alert them to update it.
All of this makes it easier to roll out new initiatives, creating a simple, painless continuous improvement process. And with further disruption sure to come in the retail industry, whether it’s from a pandemic, a natural disaster, or other sudden changes, there will always be a need to continuously improve the execution of new initiatives. With intelligent store auditing solutions, retailers have the tools they need to blunt the impact of disruption, improving compliance rates and creating a more powerful customer experience.
For more information on how to ensure compliance during disruptive times, check out our latest white paper, “Streamlining Retail Store Operations to Manage Changing Store Layouts.”