How UK Retailers Can Do More With Less
Even though most retailers in the UK benefited from strong sales over the Christmas period, they have many hurdles ahead of them.
They must contend with the need to cut costs, as stores have to accomplish more work without an expanding labour budget. Click-and-collect and other omnichannel services contribute to the increased store workload, making store operations and labour management more complex than ever. A rise in the minimum wage also plays a role in the need to contain costs, as retailers have to spend more on labour. Uncertainty surrounding Brexit is creating worry over how to handle the potential loss of retail employees that come from other EU countries.
None of this spells doom for retail in the UK, but it is concerning for retailers who do not have a defined strategy for managing and preparing for all of these variables. With retailers already having to adapt to a retail ecosystem that now includes mobile-enabled customers and online competition, it’s difficult to see a solution to the chaos.
So what solutions are available for retailers to do more with less?
Creating the Stores of the Future
Retailers in the UK do have a way to acclimatise to these changes. With a real-time store operations platform of task management and workforce management solutions, retailers can simplify the work done at their stores and optimise their labour schedules, saving tens of millions in the process. This can make a world of difference when cutting costs, keeping retailers from having to close stores and lay off employees.
With a workforce management solution, retailers can accurately budget, forecast, and schedule their labour. Employee schedules can be more closely aligned with customer demand, improving the efficiency of the store and increasing sales. Schedules can be created in minutes instead of hours, and changes can be minimised, saving store managers hours of time that they would otherwise spend in the back office. In doing this, retailers can save millions and maximise profitability by optimising their labour for customer engagement.
With a real-time task management solution, retailers can make their stores intelligent by providing a 360-degree, prioritised view of the most important things that need to be done and how to do them. Real-time task management can evaluate corporate and regional manager tasks, plus real-time alerts from IoT systems. It analyses the task workload and prioritises it based on store capacity and how busy stores are with customers. Employees know what to do at all times, whether it is setting up a promotion, conducting a recall, or responding to surprises such as late truck deliveries, weather, and local events. This dramatically simplifies how stores manage the extra work created by emerging services such as click-and-collect and other omnichannel fulfillment tasks, providing employees with a way to quickly help customers who want to pick up their orders in the store. By creating a prioritised list for store employees to view their tasks, real-time task management solutions improve efficiency through streamlined processes and increase revenue from a lift in sales.
Retailers in the UK might feel as if they’re struggling to keep their heads above water, but there is a way to create some breathing room. With a real-time store operations platform, retailers can fully prepare for what’s to come from the need to cut costs, do more with less, and create real-time stores that thrive in the future.