Running a retail store can be chaotic, we know that. Managing a chain of it, nightmarish. Are all the shelves well stocked up? Has daily cleaning been done for the day? Are promotion posters in place? And the list goes on
Acing in-store compliance in retail:
The automation advantage
Running a retail store can be chaotic, we know that. Managing a chain of it, nightmarish. Are all the shelves well stocked up? Has daily cleaning been done for the day? Are promotion posters in place? And the list goes on – there’s so much a store manager has to ensure to keep in-store compliance spick and span. The worry is mainly because businesses don’t keep up with the times. They still depend heavily on manually running retail operations – whether it is updating on Excel sheets, keeping a tab using paper documents, or even verbally instructing chores to be finished on time. All this hardly works today.
The impact of non-compliance
Retailers often exist on tight margins, so making money often takes precedence over regulations and related documentation. But that comes with its share of trouble. According to a KPMG report, one of the biggest risks for retailers is internal regulatory compliance. In-store compliance is no mean task nowadays. Traditional ways to ensure in-store compliance lead to the following roadblocks for retail organizations:
Business disruption: Non-compliance can affect businesses with employee turnover, regulatory sanctions, shutdowns, along with a loss of customers and partners due to a lack of consumer trust.
Decline in productivity: Non-compliance can add to unproductivity by hindering operations, missing out on deadlines, and failing to optimize existing resources.
Fines and penalties: Failing to meet in-store compliance can also incur legal costs. For example, in the US, if the store is not designed to cater to the disabled and is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it might attract fines and lawsuits. Money spent on resolving compliance issues can dent business coffers.
The business value of automating retail ops
When it comes to adopting a new-age approach to in-store operations and compliance, the solution is loud and clear: automation. The KPMG report also says that continued adoption of automation and emerging cognitive technologies will help drive sustainable and effective change across regulatory challenges.
Automating in-store compliance means digitizing retail processes like security, cleaning, maintenance, storing, stocking, sales, training, supply chain, and so on. Process automation in retail stores can help businesses by:
- Giving them instant and secure access to important data, information, and personnel records – tasks with deadlines can be assigned to individuals or groups and performance metrics can be analyzed to take data-driven decisions.
- Bringing in transparency and accountability in the process – by making employees responsible for their own actions and also by tracking task progression.
- Providing them more time to focus on customer service and core business responsibilities – because due to automation, managers don’t have to spend more time manually preparing and auditing in-store operations.
The 5-steps automation approach
It is definitely important to run retail operations like a well-oiled machine. But automation is not foolproof. Before the organization invests in automation, the following factors can make store managers iron out its potential creases.
Build a digital culture: Automation adoption cannot be lopsided. An overarching automation strategy requires building a culture of digitization across the floor. An employee without a smartphone or one refusing to abandon paperwork is more hindrance than help.
Loop in all: Retail business is a broad playground that involves a lot of parties – from cleaners and store associates to distributors, supply chain people, and manufacturers. It is imperative to keep every cog in the retail wheel – desk and non-desk workers – updated and informed on an automation network so that there is no leakage of communication that can impact efficiency.
Set standard guidelines: Be it single store or multi-store operations, standardization of guidelines and processes always helps retailers to maintain hygiene in in-store compliance. If automation isn’t based on consistent best practices that are applied across all brands, the company’s benefits from automation will be limited.
Provide relevant support: Proper training and roll-out plans ease out automation adoption in a retail enterprise. Alongside, a robust IT team that can continuously fix issues and provide support is extremely important to keep the automation channels up and running.
Choose the right tool: On an average, 33% companies want to automate more but feel confused about which tools and approaches to choose. The right automation platform must not only be able to rope in all relevant parties in the network (even employees who don’t have corporate email address) but also come loaded with checklists, data repository, and task management. Additionally it should also arm the manager with valuable metrics to base audits and future decisions on.
A platform like Groupe.io is perfect for retailers looking to add the automation edge to their operations. As a secure mobile real-time communication app, it ropes in employees across the chain without onboarding or usage hassles. As a productivity platform with useful features like checklists, task manager, and data collection, it enables store managers get tasks done, track work progress, and collect various data necessary for smooth functioning of the store. Its dashboard is the go-to interface for making rich data-driven decisions. With its micro apps capabilities, one can add regulatory compliance guidelines onto the network that can be referred to when needed. Additionally, chatbots integration can serve as a connect between employees and corporate managers. It’s a vast scope for retailers with Groupe.io.