There’s a reason that retailers refer to the final part of the year as the golden quarter. Encompassing both the run-up to Christmas and the Boxing Day sales, this is traditionally the time when consumer spending is at its highest. With the recent addition of Black Friday to the festive calendar, the opportunities for profits are even greater.
Of course, things were a little different last year. The UK entered the golden quarter under one national lockdown, and ended it on the brink of another. Although December footfall increased by 19%, overall golden quarter footfall was down by almost 50% compared to 2019.
Thankfully, it looks like this year’s golden quarter will live up to its name. UK shoppers accumulated £200 billion in savings during the pandemic, and nearly 80% of them plan to put this money towards a bumper Christmas.
It also appears that the festive rush will start early this year. 41% of shoppers plan to purchase most of their Christmas presents on Black Friday, causing footfall to increase by 7.9% in the final week of November.
This is great news for stores, but it puts a lot of pressure on colleagues. More customers means more interruptions. Colleagues will have to perform their usual tasks while also answering queries and finding information. This will be challenging, but help is at hand. Here are seven ways we can help you to stay on top of the Christmas rush:
- Get information faster
In our recent survey of retail colleagues, 39% said that finding information for customers was a major cause of inefficiency. A further 48% said that better access to information would make them more productive.
Our headsets are designed to do just this. If a colleague is unable to answer a customer query, they can contact another colleague directly. This saves them walking to another part of the store while the customer waits. Our research shows that immediate access to information can save each colleague 1.4km of unnecessary walking each day.
- Take calls from the shop floor
Even in the internet age, 48% of customer service queries still happen by phone. Missing these calls could mean losing a customer, but so could leaving the shop floor during a busy period.
Our headsets can be integrated with your existing phone system. All external calls can be directed to the shop floor, allowing any free colleague to answer. Because headsets are hands-free, colleagues can continue to carry out manual tasks while talking. If the colleague is unable to help, they can transfer the call to someone else without keeping the customer waiting.
- Train new hires on the job
UK retailers are expected to hire 100,000 seasonal colleagues this year. This is great news for the economy, but it does present a practical problem. Seasonal hires need to be trained
This would usually mean removing an experienced colleague from the floor to conduct a training session. This is the last thing you need when numbers are tight. Luckily, we have the perfect solution.
Our headsets allow you to provide effective training while keeping your best people on the shop floor. Experienced colleagues can partner up with new recruits, explaining tasks as they perform them. If new hires are unsure about anything, help is just a button press away.
- Support checkout colleagues
Checkout delays are a common problem. So much so that almost half of colleagues named them as the biggest cause of inefficiency in stores.
This often stems from a lack of communication. Checkouts are separated from the rest of the store, making it difficult for colleagues to get help when something goes wrong. Whether it’s a jammed till or a shortage of change, checkout colleagues may be forced to leave their position in search of help. This costs precious seconds and leaves customers frustrated.
We believe that checkout colleagues deserve the same support as everyone else. That’s why we invented our checkout keypads. These allow checkout colleagues to call for help without leaving their position. Colleagues can send a message to all nearby headsets, reporting their location and the nature of the problem.
- Authorise self-checkout purchases remotely
In 2019, 73% of customers favoured stores that offered self-checkout. Since the pandemic, this number has grown to 87%.
It’s clear that customers love this technology, but most retail colleagues would agree that it has been a mixed blessing. The biggest sticking point is authorising purchases. Colleagues often find themselves tied to the SCO area all day, rushing between tills to provide authorisation.
Our headsets allow colleagues to authorise multiple self-checkout purchases from a single location. Whenever authorisation is needed, a unique code is displayed above the checkout. Colleagues can authorise the purchase from anywhere in sight by saying the code out loud. This allows one colleague to oversee the entire area, freeing up others to work elsewhere.
- Streamline Click & Collect
Almost half of shoppers are planning to use Click & Collect this Christmas. Our products allow you to give customers the most efficient service possible, without disrupting other in-store activities:
- Customers can use call points to check on the status of their orders without joining the main queue
- Colleagues can use headsets to check on Click & Collect orders without walking to the stockroom
- Unman desks and counters
Customer service desks are important but they are only used sporadically. This presents a dilemma. Leaving a colleague on a desk all day is a waste of resources, but removing them means you could miss a customer.
Call points can be placed on customer service desks during quieter periods. Colleagues are free to get on with other tasks without customers feeling abandoned. As soon as a customer needs help, they simply press the call point to summon a nearby colleague.
This is only the beginning. For more tips on coping with the Christmas rush, don’t hesitate to give us a call.