This time last year, many retailers were facing their worst nightmare. On 6th January the United Kingdom entered a strict lockdown, with all non-essential stores forced to close until April.
As we enter 2022, things are looking much brighter. Stores remained open over the Christmas period, giving retailers a much needed boost. Although it’s too soon for exact figures, early signs are encouraging. Aldi, Tesco and M&S have all reported strong end of year sales, and other retailers are likely to follow suit in the coming weeks.
A better way to save money
Stores are entering the new year in a strong position, but there is still work to be done. 170,000 retail jobs were lost in 2020, along with a further 33,000 in the first half of 2021.
We’re sure you’re as keen as we are to reverse this trend. Cutting jobs is one way to save money, but it should only be a last resort. Redundancies don’t just harm those who are left jobless- they also have a negative impact on stores. Fewer colleagues means more pressure, leading to increased stress and low morale.
Luckily, there is an alternative. Improving efficiency allows you to save money without cutting jobs. It also leads to better customer service and increased profits. Here are three ways that we can help to streamline your store in 2022.
Reduce walking distance
Unnecessary walking is a major cause of inefficiency. This is especially true in large stores with multiple departments. Crossing the store to check on stock or find information for customers can waste precious minutes, leaving colleagues with less time to complete important tasks.
Our recent surveys found that both colleagues and customers are frustrated by this situation. 26% of colleagues say that searching for information is the biggest cause of inefficiency. If this process takes more than five minutes, over a quarter of customers will leave.
Read the full reports here and here
VoCoVo solves this problem by putting information at your fingertips:
- Colleagues can use headsets to contact other departments. This allows you to check stock and find information without walking.
- Our system reduces daily walking distance by 1.4km per colleague. This can save you as much as £442 per week per store.
Walk less, work more: how VoCoVo reduces walking distance:
The shop floor is an unpredictable place. Colleagues share the space with customers, meaning that they can be interrupted at any moment with a request for help. These disruptions make it difficult to stay on schedule when completing other tasks.
Our products enable multitasking, so that colleagues don’t have to choose between helping customers and completing other jobs:
- Call points allow customers to ask questions remotely. Colleagues can answer queries using their hands-free headsets, while continuing to perform manual tasks.
- Headsets can also be linked to your phone system. This allows colleagues to take external calls without stopping their work.
- This approach will save the average store 105 minutes a day. This translates into a saving of over £5,700 a year.
Streamline the checkout process
The checkout process is always going to be time consuming. Self-checkouts are supposed to ease the burden on colleagues, but this is not always the case. Purchases often require manual authorisation, meaning that colleagues are tied to the self-checkout area all day.
This is frustrating for everyone involved. 74% of customers believe that authorisations take too long, and almost half of colleagues agree that the checkout process is too slow.
Our system speeds things up by allowing colleagues to authorise purchases remotely. When a product requires authorisation, the self-checkout displays a reference number. Colleagues can authorise the purchase from anywhere within sight of the checkout, simply by saying the number out loud. This allows one colleague to man the entire area from a single position.
Removing one colleague from the self-checkouts can save you over £700 a week. This translates into an annual saving of over £36,000.
We’ve only scratched the surface here. From integrating with smart technology to reminding colleagues of important tasks, VoCoVo improves efficiency at every turn. Get in touch today and let’s make 2022 the most efficient year yet.