Unlocking Efficiency: Optimising Retail Operations with Technology

All Articles, Knowledge Hub

In the fast-paced retail landscape, we’re often focused predominantly on getting customers in through the door. But to really impact our bottom line, there are plenty of other tricks of the trade we can use to improve our efficiency and our profitability.
Inefficiencies in retail have a habit of creeping up on us – often in the form of standard practices and ways of working that have been with us for years.

If you run a mental check over your store operations – are there time-consuming tasks your team is still carrying out manually? Technology has moved on and, in the process, has revolutionized the efficiency of retail businesses. If we don’t keep up, standard practices can become hidden inefficiencies which creep into your store operations, draining your resources, slowing down your associates, increasing labour overheads, and ultimately hindering the creation of exceptional customer experiences.
Let’s uncover these hidden costs and explore how new technologies can be leveraged to streamline your operations and empower your team.

1. Manual Stock Takes:

Manual stock counting in retail stores and warehouses is not only hugely time-consuming and labour intensive, but it’s also prone to errors leading to discrepancies in inventory levels. Manual stock takes are a significant operating cost to any product business, with large numbers of additional workers or third-party contractors required to count every item. This inefficiency not only wastes valuable staff hours but also impacts sales due to inaccurate stock levels. This is especially important when it comes to the availability of items online.

Solution: RFID Inventory Management Systems
Implementing RFID technology enables automated and highly accurate stock takes. It allows your team to quickly scan whole shelves, boxes or even pallets of items at a time, without manual intervention.
A store stock take which may have taken a whole night can be carried out with RFID in under an hour, and the entire warehouse can be audited in just a few hours. This not only saves time but also ensures real-time visibility of inventory levels, reducing stockout situations. RFID stocktaking has become so fast that some RFID-enabled retailers even choose to make stocktaking a daily part of their staff’s closing routine. This ensures that all stock movements are accounted for, and inventory records are 100% accurate every morning.

2. Receipting Deliveries Item by Item:

Does this sound like your outlets? Deliveries crammed into the storeroom, while staff try to maneuver around them, unpacking, scanning, and putting away each individual item. Or worse, associates receipting those orders out of boxes at the front counter, so that they can observe customers shopping while they check stock into the store. Many physical stores just don’t have the floor space or storeroom capacity to manage deliveries efficiently. It’s not a great look for the brand, and frustrating for the store team.
Traditional methods of receipting deliveries, where each item’s barcode needs to be individually scanned and recorded, are inefficient and labour-intensive. This process ties up valuable staff resources that could be better utilized for customer service or merchandising displays.

Solution: RFID Scanners and Tags
By utilizing RFID tags and scanners in your supply chain, you can automate the receipt of deliveries. RFID tags on products can be scanned in bulk, instantly updating inventory records without the need for manual handling, thus freeing up your team for their value-added tasks that convert browsers to buyers.
Not only is RFID the most efficient inventory management system available to retail businesses today, but its speed and accuracy will help you to create a seamless shopping experience and support your business growth.

3. Key Management for Cupboards, Merchandise Security, and Display Cabinets:

Managing bunches of keys for cupboards and cabinets not only poses a security risk but also leads to time wasted searching for the right key. This inefficiency can slow down access to merchandise and impede the flow of customer service. When keys get lost, it’s an expensive process to call a locksmith to rekey a lock – not to mention the inconvenience for your store manager.

Solution: InVue OneKEY Ecosystem
Implementing InVue OneKEY lock solutions eliminates the need for multiple keys by using a single key for all locks and padlocks around the store. This streamlined approach enhances security while simplifying access for associates, enabling them to focus more on assisting customers and maintaining customer flow. Every associate has their own OneKEY, which is reprogrammed daily for added security. OneKEY also charges overnight, so there’s no need for batteries. Simple, and lifechanging!

4. Manual Shelf Replenishment Checks:

Whether you’re an apparel retailer, in general merchandise, or grocery, checking shelves to locate the items that have been sold and need to be replenished is a task that steals hours out of each day for your associates. Manual shelf checks to determine which items need to be replaced are not only time-consuming but also prone to human error. Associates must visually inspect each rack or shelf and take note of missing product quantities. It can take hours to check a whole store and locate the products in storage that need to go out onto shelves. It may keep your team occupied in quiet times, but as soon as the store gets busy those items missing from the shop floor translate into lost sales.

Solution: RFID Shelf Scanning or Store-wide RFID Stocktaking
Implementing RFID shelf scanning or store-wide RFID stocktaking using RFID-enabled robots overnight can revolutionize inventory management. RFID shelf scanning enables real-time tracking of stock levels, automatically generating replenishment lists for associates. Alternatively, RFID-enabled robots can autonomously navigate the store, scanning shelves and updating inventory records, ensuring that associates arrive in the morning with precise lists of items to replenish. This automation streamlines operations minimizes stockouts, and maximizes staff productivity, ultimately enhancing the customer experience and sales revenue.

5. Time Spent Searching for Lost or Out-of-Stock Items:

“The computer says we have two in your size, but I can’t seem to find them…”, sound familiar?!
When associates spend excessive time searching for lost or out-of-stock items, it not only impacts productivity and employee morale but also diminishes the customer experience. Customers expect prompt assistance, and products to be available when they want them.

Solution: RFID Inventory Management
Leveraging RFID inventory tracking not only allows associates to quickly locate misplaced or out-of-stock items within the store. With RFID-enabled handheld devices, they can pinpoint the exact location of items, reducing search time and ensuring products are always available to meet customer expectations and demands.

6. Checkout Lines and Queue Management:

Long checkout lines can frustrate customers and deter them from making purchases, leading to walkouts and lost sales opportunities. Traditional fixed point-of-sale (POS) systems limit flexibility in serving customers throughout the store and increase wait times during peak traffic periods.

Solution: Mobile POS (mPOS)
Adopting mobile POS solutions empowers associates to serve customers anywhere in the store, minimizing wait times and improving customer experiences. With mPOS devices you can create truly superior and unique customer journeys. Transactions can be completed on the spot, reducing checkout queues and increasing customer satisfaction. It’s also a perfect solution for checking out click-and-collect orders.

 

In conclusion, embracing technology is not just a choice but a necessity for retailers looking to thrive and be profitable in today’s competitive landscape. By addressing hidden inefficiencies with innovative solutions like RFID technology, OneKEY systems, and mobile POS, you can unlock new levels of efficiency and business performance, empower your retail team, reduce your overheads, and create exceptional customer experiences that drive growth and loyalty.

Are you ready to unlock the full potential of your retail operations? Contact us today to discover how we can help you transform the way you do business.

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