Retail efficiency in any store size is a key driver for customer experience and retention. As consumer expectations soar, many retailers are failing to meet their demands, with only 8% of British brands witnessing an improved customer experience (CX) in 2017.
It is known that a satisfied customer will tell 2-3 people about their experience with your company, whilst a dissatisfied consumer will share their lament with 8-10 people.
Despite retailers recognising the importance of efficiency, there are a few that struggle with the know-how to improve it. That’s why we’ve devised 7 quick and effective ways to help increase your retail store efficiency, month after month.
7 ways to start increasing your store efficiency now
1. A tidy warehouse is a tidy mind
A tidy warehouse can save on time and cost from orders. Organising your warehouse in an easily navigable and organised way means staff colleagues are able to search for items more effectively and bring them to store-floor in an efficient manner. But how do you organise your warehouse? Monitor your purchase and shipping data to provide you with insights into what products sell most frequently or are often sold together. Items can then be positioned in places that they will be picked and packaged quickest. Labelling your items clearly in the warehouse will also aid staff and deliveries.
2. Simplify and improve store layout
Your store layout should be designed around the ease of movement for your customers. Clearly designated, sign-posted departments that are organised is more effective than a general cluster of products, which in turn deter customers away. Strategically placed displays, like a mannequin modelling the latest must-have product next to the product, will also aid customers in visualising items.
3. Measure your success with a merchandising plan
Developing a merchandising plan first helps retailers ensure that their space works effectively. Analysing sales data can determine if your store is getting the very best out of departments, how to optimise floor space, and if you’re dedicating enough of this space to the largest profit generators. This information can contribute to improved product placement and avoids retailers overlooking opportunities to improve profits.
4. Work alongside your online retailer’s habits
Don’t just think of your business website as another form of revenue. Instead, analytical data can map out customer journeys and buying patterns, which you can then use in-store. For example, if customers are purchasing a specific bundle of items, you can set these up next to each other in-store to drive sales. Additionally, experiment with promotions that drive online versus in-store purchases to find the most profitable customer journey for you.
5. Deliver the goods
Customers want an efficient experience right to the very end of their purchase and expect a fast and cheap delivery service to match with features like nominated delivery date and times. Fortunately, by using modern shipping software, you can search the large pool of couriers to find the most affordable one for your business. By monitoring effectiveness through delivery success to customer reviews, you can make data-driven business decisions that can help for a more efficient end-to-end process.
6. Use social media as a means for communication
Not every customer is going to be satisfied with your business, and a large sum of people now refer to social media to vent their frustrations, or simply ask a query. Therefore, having someone monitor any social media notifications will allow for an efficient response from store to the customer in a matter of moments, rather than a matter of weeks. An unhappy customer will become a loyal consumer if you fix their complaint and do it quickly. 80% of these will come back to you if you’ve treated them fairly. That percentage rises to the upper 90s if you respond immediately.
7. Improve team communication
As retail stores grow and employment rises, communicating with the correct staff employee or team can be time-consuming. Look at implementing technological solutions to aid in communication, from headsets and callpoints, smartphone apps to checkout keypads, team members are able to communicate with anyone, from anywhere in the vicinity, with a touch of a button. These gadgets can also decrease queues at checkouts, automatically open new tills, or even act as a two-way communicative speaker between customers and staff employees.
Which methods you choose to improve operational efficiency across your stores will depend on your business setup and requirements, but regardless of who you are or where you sell, increasing retail store efficiency is key to enhancing customer experience and making more sales. We hope the guidelines above help you to optimise your retail strategy to deliver improved efficiency and reduced cost to serve across your stores.