An efficient omnichannel operation is essential to give your customers your brand experience while keeping costs under control; so you can invest in the future.
Having an efficient and agile operating model frees you up to explore the opportunities that today’s changing markets will bring to you. The challenge with efficiency can be where to start. These are our top tips for practical ways to deliver the fastest improvement in your efficiency.
1. Sell more – This might sound a glib statement and we know it isn’t always easy to drive sales. Yet selling more is the single best thing you can do for your productivity. So, what can you do to sell more?
Review your categories and identify where sales are not keeping pace with the sales figures overall. By looking at a category a week and optimising the offer, you can deliver incremental growth from customers already in your shop.
You might identify stock availability, not communicating great offers as clearly as possible, or not having the latest products that manufacturers are spending advertising dollars on. And don’t forget your impulse sales opportunities too.
2. Speed up payment – Did you know that typically it takes half the time for customers to pay with a contactless card or device than a chip and pin card or cash? Switching more of your customers to contactless will be quicker for your customers and you.
3. Slick Click and Collect retrieval – Click and Collect is a great way of giving customers access to your widest range and generates footfall into your store. The average time measured for order retrieval is 1 minute 12 seconds. The fastest time measured for a retailer is an average of just 19 seconds. They achieve this by having a well laid out storage area right by the tills. Are you spending longer than you need on order retrieval?
4. Stock levels – It is essential to have the stock your customer wants when they want to buy it. Yet stock in the stockroom just creates work for your teams. The ideal stock process is for items to be delivered when needed and put directly on the shelf. This means your team touch an item once before the customer selects it.
Additional stock handling and counting is work that could potentially be eliminated. To improve your efficiency, empty as much of the stock from your stock room onto the store shelves and review your stock count routines to remove non-essential counting. Work out how often your team touch an item before it is sold, you might be surprised.
5. Efficiency study – Is a useful work-study technique that looks at the operation, capturing data on what colleagues and customers are doing. The data analytics creates a detailed picture of how much time is spent with customers rather than on processes and how well the available colleague resource matches the customer flow and demand. Insights from this study help retailers remove wasted time from their operation and release time from tasks.
6. Rotas – It’s worth a look at your rotas to see if the shift patterns match the business opportunity. Do you have enough colleagues available for your peaks, the time when it is easier to grow your business? Do you have too many at the quieter end of the day? Do your break patterns match the quieter times, so you don’t lose people from the salesfloor when you need them most? Simple tweaks can make a big difference to the service you deliver when it matters most to customers.
7. Repeat – Your operation and customers will continue to change. To keep your operating model slick, agile and ready for new opportunities you will need to have efficiency permanently on your agenda. Efficiency is not a one-off project, it’s a way of working that the best retailers embrace.
Written by Simon Hedaux, Founder and CEO of Rethink Productivity, a world leading productivity partner which helps businesses to drive efficiency, boost productivity and optimise budgets. For more information see https://rethinkproductivity.co.uk/