While the last 18 months have been all about safety, the next few will be all about money. It remains to be seen how much aid the high street will receive from the government but, whatever happens, there is sure to be a huge shortfall:
- The UK economy has lost an estimated £251 billion as a result of the pandemic
- 17,500 stores went out of business in 2020
- 87% of the UK population now shops online- the highest in any European country
- Amazon’s profits have tripled in the space of a year
Efficiency saves jobs as well as money
In order to get through the next few months, you will have to find new ways to save money. Reducing associate levels is one option, but this is a risky approach.
The pandemic has already led to record job losses in the retail sector. 190,000 colleagues have been made redundant since the first lockdown, and this number is growing every day.
We’re sure you feel a moral obligation to protect as many jobs as possible, but there is also a practical element to consider. Fewer colleagues in store is bound to lead to longer waiting times and a drop in the quality of customer service. This comes at a time when customers have little patience for these inconveniences:
- A quarter of UK shoppers say that long queues are their biggest frustration with in-store shopping
- 26% of customers will leave a store if they haven’t been served within five minutes.
In order to win back internet customers, you need to remind them of the advantages of in-store shopping. This means offering the kind of personalised service that only a well-staffed team can provide. Cutting jobs will only send more customers running for Amazon and eBay.
So how else can you save money? The answer is efficiency. Our products are designed to help you make the most of the colleagues you have. By improving communication, you can cut costs without harming the customer experience. Here are five statistics that show the power of efficient communication:
1. Save 105 minutes in task efficiency
No matter how well you plan your rotas, it’s easy for colleagues to get sidetracked. Those working on the shop floor are frequently interrupted by customer queries, forcing them to pause the task at hand while they help. This can cause even straightforward jobs to take much longer than they should.
Our system allows colleagues to multitask, so they can get more done in less time:
- Customers can ask questions via call points, rather than finding a colleague on the shop floor
- Colleagues can answer these questions via their headsets without stopping their work
- Working this way can save your store an average of 105 minutes a day in task efficiency. This translates into a monetary saving of £111 a week.
2. Reduce daily walking distance by 1.4km
Retail colleagues walk more than almost any other professionals. This is great for starting healthy, but not so good for customer service. Our system eliminates unnecessary walking so that you can serve customers faster:
- Colleagues can answer queries via their headsets without having to walk to the customer’s location.
- If a colleague is unable to find a piece of information, they can contact another colleague remotely rather than crossing the store to find them.
- You can check stock levels and Click & Collect orders without walking to the stock room.
- VoCoVo saves each colleague an average of 1.4km per day in unnecessary walking. This translates into a monetary saving of £442.40 per week per store.
3. Save £702 a week by reducing SCO intervention
Hygiene concerns caused many customers to embrace self-checkout usage for the first time. This behaviour is likely to continue, with half of shoppers saying they will favour stores with self-checkouts after the pandemic.
Self-checkouts may be great for customers, but they are often a recipe for inefficiency. The need to authorise purchases means that one or more colleagues are usually tied to the self-checkout area all day long. Our system liberates these colleagues so that they can get on with other tasks:
- Colleagues can authorise purchases remotely via their headsets
- Call points can be placed on self-service counters, allowing customers to request help without a colleague being present
- Removing one colleague from the self-checkout area can save you £702 per week per store
4. Save £594 a week by unmanning desks and counters
Click & Collect use grew by 32% during the pandemic. Having grown used to the service’s convenience, many customers will continue to shop this way in the future.
Click & Collect offers unparalleled convenience for customers, but it creates a dilemma for managers. Do you leave a colleague on the desk at all times, or do you let them get on with other jobs during quieter periods? The first option means that the colleague is unoccupied for much of the day. The second runs the risk of missing a customer.
With VoCoVo, you have nothing to worry about:
- Call Points can be placed on Click & Collect and customer service desks.
- Customers can call for assistance by pressing the call point. In the meantime, colleagues can keep working elsewhere.
- Unmanning desks and counters can save you £594 per week per store.
5. Save over £96,000 a year
When added together, these savings are truly impressive. Improving efficiency with VoCoVo can save the average store over £96,000 a year. At this rate, you should cover your installation costs in just three months. Then, all that’s left to do is sit back and reap the benefits of a connected store.