As the pandemic scare fades, in-store shopping has somewhat returned to the pre-pandemic scenario as seen from store footprints this year during the festive season. According to studies, retailers witness a 30-45% increase in sales during the festive season. Considering the importance of the festive season for the retail sector, staffing vertical businesses has become critical for players in the ecosystem.
Staff shortages can have a greater impact on small businesses
The role of the physical store is evolving, but it is still critical to the customer experience. According to one study, shopper interactions with self-service solutions continue to rise globally with nearly half of shoppers saying they have used self-checkouts, and nearly four-in- -10 used non-cash payment methods. A similar trend is seen in India and other APAC markets where self-checkouts are used by 47% of shoppers, while 46% of those surveyed opt for contactless payment methods. payment.
For a large retailer, the consequences of short staffing can be small, limited to the transfer of employees from the backroom to the front of the store within a few hours. However, for small businesses, the impact can be significant and potentially detrimental to their bottom line, as a few employee calls can result in zero available staff – and an absolute closing shop – all day.
Streamline operations between the back and front of the store
There is often little delineation between storefront and backroom operations in a small retail business. The right technology helps to ensure that there is no disconnect between the two functions and to increase efficiency when transferring physical items between the front and back of the store.
Equipping associates with business-class mobile devices can add valuable mobility and transparency to the inventory management process. This technology gives store associates on the sales floor insight into what products are available or scheduled to arrive so they can ensure they are available to receive and replenish items when the trucks arrive, and better customer support. It also makes the overall inventory management process less time-consuming and more accurate than the processes of the past, which relied on paper and pen to track item locations, sales, etc.
Offer mobile checkout and more
Small businesses can increase automation and efficiency in inventory management, sales, and more by embracing retail-ready technology solutions such as self-serve kiosks or checkout lanes, rugged tablets with additional point- of-sale (POS) modules or handheld mobile computers with built-in barcode scanners and accessed using a radio frequency identification (RFID) sled.
Mobile technology enables a convenient and seamless customer experience, giving employees more tools to help shoppers in the moment, wherever they are. For example, with product knowledge in the palm of their hand, retail associates can provide a better experience by answering questions thoroughly and offering more information about a product without leaving the customer’s side.
Kiosks can also serve as POS terminals to process transactions more efficiently, while rugged tablets and handheld computers can support partner-managed mobile POS. This helps to avoid a situation where an employee is stuck behind a register while many customers in the store need attention.
Accommodate the needs of your colleagues
One way to overcome staffing shortages is to equip mobile devices with software that helps automate staff scheduling or allows employees to automatically request a replacement if they are unable to work. a shift. This will make it less likely that only one employee will be in the store at any given time.
In addition, technology adoption can help engage and retain a young workforce, which is the long-term solution to today’s labor crisis. Millennials will soon comprise about 75% of the front-line workforcewhile Generation Z, born between the late 1990s and early 2010s, is expected to make up 30% of the workforce by 2030.
Looking ahead to the future, meeting the demands of young workers for on-the-job technology will be critical for improving operations and maintaining a consistent and dedicated workforce. Fortunately, for most small businesses, retail-ready technologies are becoming more accessible than ever. There are enterprise-grade devices built for the needs and budgets of small businesses, as well as cloud-based services that make hardware and software easy and affordable to deploy and manage.
The views expressed above are those of the author.
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