How to manage your store with a smaller, more knowledgeable team

Article by Martyn Jones | 4th September 2020

In a modern, connected store, it only takes a few empowered colleagues to deliver an excellent service. New ways of operating shop floors using smaller teams, first operated by discount retailers, are being introduced more widely. 

Why? Retail is facing a series of challenges ahead, where doing more with less may become the norm. But this isn’t cause for alarm. In fact, it’s an opportunity to re-think team communication.

Retail in the UK is a shrinking sector, with jobs disappearing more quickly than in manufacturing. As well as the challenges from eCommerce, stores are now negotiating the difficult challenges of a global pandemic. 

60,000 jobs were lost in retail in 2019. Following the outbreak of coronavirus earlier this year, 24,000 retail jobs have already been lost. Stores operating with a smarter, more efficient team are likely to fare better. 

How to manage a store with fewer colleagues

We have learned many lessons from discount retailers in the UK. Aldi and Lidl operate on smaller colleague numbers, with greater flexibility in job roles facilitated by better team communication. 

These highly trained, highly flexible colleagues conduct various tasks depending on the customer needs, for example restocking during shop hours, leaving some sections unmanned if necessary, having clear set tasks per individual and using a single channel of communication to train new colleagues as they work.

Customer service

Leaner teams deliver excellent customer service. The UK CEE ratings has noted this, with both Lidl and Aldi climbing its ranking scores. A flexible colleague can offer on-the-spot advice to customers, by helping them in person or relying on team communication to provide accurate answers.


Our recent research revealed that over a third of retail workers want more training. Better onboarding and more thorough training results in a happier colleague, more likely to make retail into their permanent career. We believe that team communication facilitates training, because a connected team is able to share information freely.

Download our latest insight report here

Better communication

Teams that are able to catch up regularly with each other, can work more flexibly and efficiently. Team communication enables everyone to set priorities, share tasks and keep everyone accountable. It also enables stores to unman areas such as customer services, or Click&Collect, depending on customer footfall. 

Read our case study with Jack’s to see how better communication works with smaller teams

Better communication facilitates better colleague morale, as well as higher productivity. We’ve found in several of our proof-of-concept studies that morale amongst colleagues increased by 50% over two weeks following the installation of our ecosystem. 

Track the right data

VoCoVo has our own SaaS portal, enabling customers to keep an eye on key data. You can assess a range of statistics, see what items are currently being used and implement a number of upgrades to access business intelligence. 

Whether you’re reducing colleague numbers, or just thinking about new ways of working, give our experienced team a call to find out how VoCoVo can help you do more with less.

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