10 Hacks That Can Lead to Big Gains in Retail

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10 Hacks That Can Lead to Big Gains in Retail

By Marcela De Vivo Bustillo - 11/16/2016
If retailers aren't looking for an edge, then they're falling behind. In today's hyper-competitive world, every ounce of productivity counts. These 10 hacks can quickly lead to big gains in output.
                                                                                      
Use Workforce Management Software
 
Workforce management software helps retailers improve labor scheduling, manage time and attendance, manage leave and absence requests, streamline task and activity management, and improve data collection and reporting.
 
Use Automated Scheduling
 
Puma, a retailer with 2,000 associates nationwide, used Kronos to switch from manual scheduling to automated scheduling and forecasting in 2013. Almost immediately, the company was able to cut the amount of time store managers had to spend in the office.
 
Let Social Media Do The Heavy Lifting
 
A full 19.9 percent of apparel retailer Nasty Gal's online traffic — nearly one in five visitors — can be traced to the company's innovative social media strategy, which includes a sprinkling of celebrity photos, inspirational quotes and vintage images among their product posts. The strategy earned them 2.2 million followers on Instagram alone. Every visitor they can get from free social media saves money, time, personnel and resources from traditional marketing and advertising.
 
Consider a Voice-Picking System
 
Retailers can reduce training time and improve productivity with voice-picking systems, like the Container Store did when it implemented a platform from Lucas Systems. Aside from improved direct-to-customer and store fulfillment, the technology made distribution more flexible by incorporating both barcode scanning and voice recognition.
 
Streamline Sales With a Mobile Pay App
 
When Starbucks developed an app that lets customers order and pay on their phones, the technology streamlined the in-store experience while reducing congestion and speeding up lines. Customers appear to love the convenience. In the third quarter of 2016, the app accounted for 5 percent of U.S. sales, up from 4 percent in the second quarter.
 
Take Advantage of Chrome Extensions
 
Use chrome browser extensions and tools to help facilitate tasks you are performing while at your computer. The Moz SEO Chrome Toolbar, for example, helps users quickly find critical SEO information and gives them fast access not only to SEOmoz tools, but tools from third parties as well. If you are redesigning or migrating your site, the Link Redirect Trace extension can help you check that your URL’s are redirected properly. Do you need to take screen shots? Use Awesome Screenshot.  These are just a few examples of how Chrome extensions can help.
 
Use Mobile Workforce Tools
 
Increase productivity by connecting in-store staff with personnel in the field through two-way radio systems like those offered by DispatchPlus. Rugged and cost-effective, today's mobile workforce tools are GPS enabled to keep track of employees no matter where they are.
 
Accept In-Store Mobile Payments
 
According to Merchant Maverick, retailers can avoid errors, improve service, gain new customers and save money by accepting mobile payments. NFC, QR Codes and iBeacon are currently the three biggest competitors jockeying for position in the market. Retailers who accept mobile payments are not only more efficient and productive than those who only accept cash or cards, but they are far more attractive to young millennials.
 
Use Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Software
 
Retailers can achieve faster time to market, reduce errors, improve cycle times and boost analysis and reporting with product lifecycle management technology. Mango recently deployed a PLM system from Spain to Vietnam. 
 
Launch an Apple Watch App
 
The wearables revolution provides an amazing opportunity for retailers to become more productive and more efficient. Kohl's used an Apple Watch app to to let customers scan the company's computers and utilize their rewards points in stores during checkout, which freed up customer service resources. Starbucks uses their own Apple Watch app to let customers pay quickly with their wearable through their Passbook.

Marcela De Vivo Bustillo, CEO