Shiny stores, exclusive products and exciting displays are part of the magic of retail. But, like any good show, it’s the background systems and fail safes that underpin five-star reviews.
Even major retailers have their pain points. But those who want the show to go on look to technology for the solution as we outline in this article.
Problem #1: Delivery is Expensive and Needs to be Increasingly Flexible
The most expensive part of the delivery of an online purchase is the last stage of the journey: from the courier to the customer’s door. Retailers lose profit on this ‘last mile’ which accounts for a whopping 53% of the total delivery cost.
Fail to deliver first time and redelivery adds more pain. In fact, according to Barclay’s ‘The Last Mile’ report, repeated delivery represents the major operational efficiency concern for retailers.
As if this wasn’t enough to contend with, customers increasingly expect a 15-minute delivery slot to fit in with their busy lives.
It’s this combination of tight delivery windows, high same-day delivery demand plus road traffic and network congestion that combines to create the perfect fulfilment storm.
Ask customers to wait around for goods to be delivered and you’re guaranteed customer frustration and negative online reviews. Fail to deliver first time or neglect to reduce the costs of the last mile and your business is looking at profit erosion: additional driver hours and fuel costs, extra warehousing and more processing all adds up.
Economically fulfilling narrow delivery slots is a complex problem that needs an intelligent solution.
Solution #1: Agile Algorithms for Ultra-Efficient Delivery
REPL have the answer. By getting to know your business and customers inside and out, we’ll create an algorithm that solves your delivery challenges and lowers costs.
Fulfilment will be optimised based on real-time criteria – including stock, workforce, delivery cost, account traffic, events and more – so you’ll get an UBER-style delivery app. This will allow your drivers to:
- Take the shortest possible route
- Make more deliveries within the agreed time slot
- Ensure happier customers
- Reduce fuel costs
Think Deliveroo for retailers and you won’t be far off the mark.
Retailers who work with REPL significantly improve their post-purchase customer experience by delivering on 15-minute fulfilment slots.
How does this work? On the day of delivery, customers are contacted with their one-hour time slot and given a link to track the progress of their parcel. By using technology based on intelligent algorithms, customers can track their driver and see when their delivery is 15 minutes away.
With real-time connectivity built in to the system, customers can request a different time or ask for their parcel to be left in a safe place or with a neighbour. The route-planner immediately adjusts itself to find the optimal delivery sequence giving customers flexibility without impacting delivery costs.
If a customer isn’t in and you need to re-deliver, REPL’s intra-system communication is key to making new fulfilment slots work. By deploying solutions that combine planning, tracking and execution via mobile devices, REPL helps retailers optimise route delivery.
With redeliveries logistically planned on the fly with other drop-offs, it’s possible to bring five or ten deliveries in at the same cost as one or two best-guess fulfilments.
Our customers have made significant savings on fuel and courier time all while increasing deliveries per driver hour with added customer flexibility. If this kind of solution could work for your business, consult with one of our experts.
Problem #2: Repetitive Tasks Take Time That Could Be Better Spent Elsewhere
Manual stock and price checks. Timesheets and booking holidays. Filling shifts and dealing with no-shows or shift swaps. These have often been repetitive, manual administrative processes that carry the risk of human error and take up precious time.
Solution #2: Data Drives Optimal Solutions, Faster
Leading retailers are introducing data-driven tech to automate these tasks. Not only does this save time, but cross-referencing large information sets enables improved decision making amongst a host of other benefits:
- Fast and accurate stock and price checks – ESO Connect helps you reduce errors, save time and delivers streamlined stock control. Using barcode scanners and mobile technology, you can:
- automate your forecasting
- accelerate ordering and replenishment
- increase profit
- Simplify time management tasks – RTA Clocks make clocking in and out and managing shifts and holidays simple. With multiple options to record time worked and detailed reporting, this tech puts your managers effortlessly in control of their team’s activity.
- Working time compliance – remove the risk of working too many hours with RTA Clocks. Set up the right rules for your organisation to ensure legal compliance. And, thanks to rested employees, you’ll improve performance and reduce accidents boosting Health and Safety stats into the bargain.
- Ensure sufficient staff cover – when employees are off sick, on holiday or they leave the business entirely, you need to know what to do. WFM Connect empowers you to:
- check their role and skills and cross reference this against your business forecast
- identify whether a replacement is needed and, if so, what kindrespond to alerts that advise when you’re going to be busy
- decide how best to respond
By modelling scenarios – including using overtime, recruiting more headcount or coping with existing staff – you can decide who to bring onto a team, whether or not to replace and the best way to do it.
It’s this kind of back office agility that ensures the shop-floor show can always go on.
Problem #3: Staff Turnover is High
Retail is renowned for high staff turnover. Many businesses would consider pay increases but with tight margins, rises may not be possible. Enhancing benefits or providing performance-related bonuses are other alternatives but again they cost money and don’t always deliver the business outcomes organisations seek. So what can you do instead?
Solution #3: Forget Pay Rises – Engage Your Employees Instead
Many of the reasons that employees give for leaving jobs are non-financial. Which means looking beyond salary hikes for a more effective strategy.
Enter stage left, employee engagement which has been shown to improve retention while delivering:
- improved customer satisfaction
- higher levels of creativity
- fewer sick days and improved staff wellbeing
In an increasingly complex retail sector with evolving customer demands, you need to have the back office tools to cope.
While average systems keep the wheels turning, REPL’s solutions take you to the next level. By capturing and using data to help you make better decisions faster, you’ll save costs, keep up with customer expectations and ensure the show goes on.
To take your retail business from coping to excelling, get in touch with one of our experts.