The world of retail is constantly evolving to meet emerging trends in consumer demands, driving retailers to consider how they can innovate their operations to deliver exceptional customer experiences without increasing the cost to serve. This is where examining operational efficiency becomes key, particularly for Tier 1 retailers with branches extending across Europe, where even small increases in efficiency can equate to significant savings.
With physical retail sales still expected to account for 80 per cent of all sales globally by 2025, boosting operational efficiency represents a phenomenal opportunity for international retailers to reduce the cost to serve while enticing shoppers back to brick-and-mortar experiences.
The digital challenge
With one in every five pounds spent with retailers now online, concerns are rising for the lifespan of high street shopping. The online experience is convenient, accessible, and fast- flowing, and with just a few clicks of a button, shoppers have the ability to quickly search for their products and place an order all from the comfort of their own homes.
This, in turn, is raising consumer expectations, resulting in brick-and-mortar stores changing the way they operate to meet these demands and totally redefining what the physical retail space is capable of.
Improved store efficiency delivers better customer experience
You know better than most the impact that customer experience can have on business.
Some 97% of global customers say that customer service is ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ important to their choices, whilst 62% have stopped doing business with a brand or organisation due to a poor customer experience. Improving store efficiency is one way of improving your stores’ ability to provide customer experiences that keep consumers coming back.
Revenue can increase by 10% if the customer experience is improved by the same figure.
From advanced IT infrastructure to store-floor equipment that speeds up the checkout process, retailers are adopting new and improved solutions that aid in customer retention and better compete with the efficiency of online consumer journeys.
The technology solutions transforming store efficiency
In order to conquer the fluctuating consumer demands, brick-and-mortar retailers are introducing technological solutions that are transforming their store efficiency.
Many retailers have integrated communication devices such as headsets, enabling staff colleagues to interact with each other from any building, at any time, so queries or problems are dealt with efficiently and professionally. CallPoints have also been installed around stores that open up channels of communication between customers and staff through a two-way speaker, preventing customers from having to wander the aisles in search of help.
Checkout KeyPads are another technological stride towards improving store efficiency, as staff employees can open new tills or call for aid with a touch of a button. This results in fewer queues forming at checkouts — the ultimate pet-hate for consumers that can determine their buying mood.
Smart Apps have been introduced for work phones that offer relevant information such as pricing and quantity, allowing staff colleagues to efficiently answer any customer queries. The same work phones can also be linked to a shared network so no external call goes unmissed.
Operational efficiency no longer a ‘nice to have’
Such is the convenient and efficient nature of ecommerce that consumer demands are shifting and expectations are high, leaving brick-and-mortar retailers under more and more pressure to reduce the cost to serve. High-street stores must therefore improve efficiency to avoid struggling in the market and keep pace with the competition.
The adoption of innovative technologies is one way that some of Europe’s largest retailers are achieving this. Many such technologies can be easily deployed and rolled out at scale, providing a simple, cost-effective way for retail giants to reduce the cost to serve across their stores. Does that sound more efficient already?