How to Effectively Implement Omnichannel Services at Grocery Stores
People are changing the way they shop for groceries. While many consumer studies show that they still prefer a grocery store that is able to provide convenience, healthy food options, and a unique experience, access to smartphones and apps have altered customer expectations of how grocery shopping works. As a result, grocery customers are increasingly ordering meal kits, buying mostly organic or natural products, ordering groceries online and picking them up in store, or buying groceries online and skipping the store altogether.
Providing customers with the omnichannel services that are being requested isn’t as simple as implementing a buy-online, pick-up in store or a curbside pick-up service. Omnichannel grocery retail can only succeed if retailers are able to handle the in-store task distribution and labor optimization that enable it.
Enabling Omnichannel with Workforce Management
With younger shoppers increasingly turning to online grocery ordering, more retailers are adopting buy-online pick-up in store (BOPIS) services. But implementing BOPIS means creating more work at the store. Store associates have to spend time collecting items for the online orders, storing them, and then delivering them to customers either curbside or in the store. And store associates have to work fast: take too long, and customers quickly become frustrated.
More work also means that labor schedules have to be adjusted to match the task workload. If new omnichannel processes create or exacerbate a mismatch between task workload and staffing levels, there won’t be enough store associates on the sales floor to collect, store, and deliver grocery orders to customers. Any new omnichannel service affects task workload and labor scheduling, and failing to account for these changes means lost sales and frustrated customers.
A single task management and workforce management platform has the capability to ensure that new omnichannel services are integrated effectively into a grocery retailer’s offerings. Task management solutions take all tasks that need to be completed in the store and prioritizes them, assigning them to the store associates most able to complete them. A store associate that needs to collect and store a BOPIS order receives a new task on their dashboard, and their manager has visibility into the completion status of that task. This way, no BOPIS orders get overlooked and customers receive their orders in a timely fashion.
Workforce management solutions make sure that labor schedules reflect the increased task workload that comes from integrating BOPIS services into a retailer’s offerings. An intelligent workforce management solution is capable of generating optimized labor forecasts and schedules that account for task workload, customer traffic, weather patterns, employee availability and skillset, and other critical variables. Using this solution eliminates the scheduling inefficiencies that delay BOPIS orders.
With workforce management, store managers also don’t have to spend more time in the back room trying to create accurate schedules for the new task workload. By generating accurate and optimized labor schedules, workforce management solutions give store managers more time on the sales floor, where they can coach store associates on how to best complete tasks associated with new omnichannel processes.
Omnichannel services are becoming more important to grocery shoppers, which means that implementing them needs to be as seamless and flawless as possible. With a single platform of task management and workforce management solutions, omnichannel services can be quickly adopted and executed effectively from day one.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Reflexis can help grocery retailers improve the customer experience with omnichannel services, read our white paper, “3 Strategies to Make Omnichannel Retail Work for Your Stores”.