Retailers have good reason to feel optimistic about the future. Despite the increasing encroachment of e-commerce merchants, traditional retail outlets have performed well in recent years. Industry insiders expect those good fortunes to continue.
A reduction in the corporate tax rate is expected to save retailers as much as $175 billion.
The retail industry made $3.53 trillion in sales in 2017 — a 3.9 percent increase over the previous year.
Retail sales are predicted to increase anywhere from 3.8 to 4.4 percent in 2018.
Changing consumer shopping behaviors and overextended market footprints have forced retailers to rethink their brick-and-mortar strategies: In 2017, there were 7,000 store closing announcements.
Labor costs could rise over the next few years. Several retailers, including Walmart and CVS Health, have either already increased their employees' minimum wages or plan to soon.
Given these circumstances, the next few years will be critical for the retail industry. Retailers need to become more efficient, streamlined, and strategic to minimize costs, maximize profits, and stay competitive.
Following are 3 ways to optimize retail execution:
To accomplish aggressive goals, retailers must increase visibility into their operations on the ground level. Factors like brand guidelines, employee productivity, and day-to-day workflows all affect the overall profitability and efficiency of a given store.
Achieving granular insight into task completion and in-store execution requires field reporting tools that allow employees to document conditions and share information with other departments. Unfortunately, when frontline employees rely on time-consuming reporting processes like filling out spreadsheets, they are unable to dedicate time to more important activities like building relationships and resolving any outstanding issues.
What's more, such manual workflows often force field members to hold off submitting reports until the end of the day – or worse, at the end of the week in one big batch. Under these conditions, administrators will not receive data in a timely manner, and any insights that could have been distilled will be outdated.
Mobile execution management solutions like GoSpotCheck drastically speed up field reporting processes, allowing employees to complete and share reports while out on location. Image-capture features document real-time store conditions, such as retail displays, brand marketing materials, and product shelves. With the right tool in hand, field teams can quickly and efficiently observe planograms and displays, assess workflows and staff performance, and instantaneously file reports.
Achieving complete in-store visibility is the first step towards useful data, but even the best insights are not of much value if retailers fail to take action.
Using structured field reports, brand administrators can identify specific areas for improvement, such as updating planograms, revamping employee training, and tweaking display practices.
To ensure that these tactical changes are implemented, frontline employees must schedule follow-up visits with each store. Carefully collected information from the subsequent visits can guide strategic data-driven decision-making.
Data-driven retail strategies can help accurately map out the customer journey, reveal emerging market trends, and eliminate costly inefficiencies—all which boost sales.
In-store data, in particular, is extremely valuable to retail analytics projects. Inventory turnover, foot traffic, and display figures all provide potential insight into evolving customer preferences and local retail trends.
Retailers must be able to gather a steady stream of real-time data to support their analytics aspirations. Administrators rely on the freshest data possible to extract meaningful insights and ensure that newly-created strategy remains relevant.
Analytics capabilities can range from pattern matching and analysis to more advanced approaches like machine learning. Regardless of how sophisticated an organization's current analytics strategy is, this is one critical area to plan around for the future.
As the premier execution management solution, GoSpotCheck has a wide range of tools and features needed to optimally enhance retail operations: