Fifteen years ago, Steven Spielberg presented us with his future vision of retail: a mall crammed with retina scanners and virtual reality humans bombarding shoppers with highly-targeted ad messages.
When we watched Minority Report on the big screen in 2002, these tech predictions for 2054 seemed far-fetched.
Would Gap’s virtual store assistant really know that we’d recently bought some “assorted tank tops”? Would Guinness actually be able to spot us strolling by their billboard and suggest we might like some light refreshment?
While the in-store reality is still somewhat removed from this, in 2018 it’s no longer so far beyond the realms of imagination. With profitability challenges fiercer than ever, innovative new solutions are appearing on the market all the time.
High street retailers can access ever-increasing volumes of data to target their advertising and improve the customer experience. They can use virtual reality to display merchandise on rails, mannequins and shoppers themselves. They can bring digital to the physical. They can compete.
How? By embracing the very best retail technology and adopting an omnichannel approach to bring their stores into the digital age.
Here we explore how you can revolutionise your retail workplace across workforce management, point of sale, employee engagement and supply chain to gain that crucial competitive edge.
The store of tomorrow is accessible today. It’s an essential evolution.
Workforce Management Tools That Deliver
In the current climate, effective workforce management has to go beyond right person, right place, right time.
The latest software expands on the traditional methods thanks to personalisation and innovation. It uses AI to meet complex data demands, provide granular insights and dramatically simplify calculating forecasts and demand and creating schedules.
These bespoke solutions give you the control you need to make better decisions that power productivity and profits.
Here’s what they can do within your business:
Precisely predict demand
- Calculate and understand workforce demand with accuracy
- Process large volumes of data in minutes rather than hours or weeks
- Facilitate rapid what if analysis and planning
- Provide instant, on-the-move access to all the information you need
- Assemble bottom-up demand for labour budget planning
- Eliminate mismatches between budgets and schedules
- Reduce labour costs to boost the bottom line
Forecast with accuracy
- Harness the power of AI to allow forecasting accuracy incorporating store-relevant data such as the weather and local events
- Aggregate forecasts for faster and more accurate analysis
- Prototype specific scenarios, keeping the ones that work and changing those that don’t
- Produce the ideal labour model and strategically reduce costs
- Increase workforce capacity, satisfaction, productivity and performance
- Identify growth opportunities and elevate customer satisfaction
Organise complex tasks
- Manage task execution and distribution quickly and easily
- Assign specific duties for optimal productivity
- Allow real-time two-way feedback between the task owner and recipient
- Create a sense of community among colleagues
- Monitor and track progress with task reporting
- Identify areas for improvement to task completion rates
Schedule with confidence
- View, edit and approve employee timesheets
- View demand for specific roles
- Handle time-off and shift-swap requests
- Access a daily or weekly view of scheduled shifts and breaks
- Revise over or under-scheduling
- Access detailed employee profiles to support scheduling decisions
- Review daily and weekly scheduling exceptions
- Give employees the power to view personal schedules, hours worked, annual leave entitlement and payslips, request time off, complete a shift-swap and clock in and out using geolocation
Point of Sale As Tech-Savvy As Your Customers
Point of sale has become point of service. No longer just home to a simple transactional till, implementing the right transformative tech here will meet your customers’ digital demands and your employees’ expectations.
Upgrade your system and you can introduce functionality including placing orders, checking stock, scan-as-you-shop, sending email receipts and contactless payment.
Your team will work smarter and your customers will leave your store wanting to return.
A cutting-edge check-out allows you to:
Offer a broader range of services to exceed the online shopping experience
Empower employees to offer first-class service
Reduce out-of-stocks and grow sales
Streamline inventory through optimised ordering
Free up time to focus on customers
Adopt an omni-channel approach by combining online, in-store and mobile POS
With the best POS tech in place, your store can provide creative customer service that keeps your physical store relevant on the path to purchase.
Enable Employee Engagement
Alongside the employee-empowering capabilities of state-of-the-art WFM and POS solutions, there’s also dedicated software to boost colleague communication.
Modern tools have the ability to connect the workforce and create a community, enabling personal customer service and higher levels of staff morale. They allow you to:
- Update your workforce from one place
- Post content and news via digital magazines and feeds
- Access operation procedures
- Share documents on the cloud
- Allow employees to manage tasks
- Gather employee feedback
- Provide online training
- Host secure chat rooms
- Moderate messages
- Offer rewards
Through improved communication channels, your team will become more engaged with your brand, take pride in offering exceptional customer service and achieve increased productivity.
Enjoy Seamless Stock Management
Adaptable supply chain software is the final piece in your retail tech jigsaw. An expert installation here can improve efficiency and boost profitability.
Instead of using outdated stock-counting methods and manual recording, modern solutions have real-time functionality to ensure an error-free inventory.
Upgrading your warehouse management system and integrating it with your whole IT set-up, allows you to:
- Automate forecasting
- Accelerate ordering and replenishment
- Maintain inventory accuracy
- Connect with POS and back office systems
- Increase item and price management efficiency
- Access intuitive reports and in-depth analytics
Adopt a full suite of compatible tools across your whole business and you’ll be future-proofing your in-store offering. You can face the onslaught of online with confidence.
The Future is Now
Rewind to the 2054 vision Spielberg imagined in 2002 and some scenes will look familiar from the present day: the convenience of voice-operated homes, the advent of driverless cars. Others are almost upon us.
You can start your journey towards this futuristic retail model now: next-generation tech is already within your reach.