The surprising cause of inefficiency in the UK’s biggest retailers

Article by Olivia Robinson | 17th September 2020

A surprising cause of inefficiency in-store is wasted time due to poor communication. Poor communication in store has a dampening effect on customers and colleagues, because it prevents them from interacting efficiently and effectively.

Without good communication, stores are under threat of risking higher losses, and are often less able to meet the demands of social distancing, rapid restocking and responding to customer queries quickly. Smaller teams are also less efficient in the use of their time together, or might be ‘stuck’ manning a single desk instead of working flexibly.

When we interviewed UK retail colleagues, over half felt the biggest cause of inefficiency in their roles was searching for information, or looking for colleagues. 

We asked our respondents how they could deliver a better service, and 39% said they needed better communication with colleagues.

Read the full insight report

How can we transform colleague communication? 

Traditionally, businesses might use a tannoy system and walkie talkie set. However, tannoy announcements are the biggest annoyance to customers. Walkie talkies are not secure enough for discrete communication. What’s the solution?

VoCoVo ecosystem

Our ecosystem brings digital transformation into the store, making colleague communication instant, secure and convenient. By supplying colleagues with durable, long-lasting headsets, colleagues can communicate using a single Push To Talk button. 

We calculated that VoCoVo saves an average of 105 minutes per colleague per week. This equates to:

  • 84 hours per colleague, per year (based on a 48 week working year)
  • 504 hours per team per year (based on a team of 6 colleagues)

Better communication in-store brings big efficiency savings. 

All this adds up to deliver huge efficiency savings:

Reducing colleague travel time

  • £16,425 per annum per store, £12,351,600 across estate of 750 stores

Task efficiency

  • £5,749 per annum per store, £4,323,248 across estate of 750 stores

When colleagues are unable to communicate rapidly, it allows shoplifters to steal with less fear of being caught. In many cases, by the time security is alerted, the shoplifter may have already left the store. Better communication doesn’t just save money in business efficiency, it also reduces losses due to theft.

Empowering with talk

In retail, colleagues traditionally have been forced to leave customers waiting to search for help. This is inefficient and poorly impacts customer service. 

The solution is simple. Using our technology, colleagues can remain with the customer while obtaining answers from their team. This reduces wasted time spent searching for colleagues* and improves customer satisfaction.

*In fact, we measured that our solution saves every colleague walking 1KM per day. That adds up to an hour of wasted time every week, based on the average speed of 12 minutes per KM, and a 5 day working week.

By improving communication, stores can also empower colleagues to work more flexibly. Rather than manning particular desks, colleagues are multi-skilled and can dedicate their time where it’s needed. This empowers and upskills colleagues, making them more adaptable in their role. It also offers retailers huge benefits by offering the same results from smaller teams.

Investing in the future of retail

85% of retail sales happen in bricks and mortar.* The global pandemic has changed the way consumers shop. But this has had a positive effect on retail transformation. Businesses are in a stronger position than ever to innovate and experiment with new in-store processes and technologies.

*Retail Technology Review

Many retailers focus investment in areas like eCommerce and digital transformation. But arguably, the largest savings to be had are still in store. 

At VoCoVo, we help some of the UK and Europe’s largest retailers do what they do best. Connect with customers, connect with each other and feel empowered. Talk to us today.

Why choose VoCoVo? 

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