What Lessons Learned in 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought sweeping changes to the retail world as stores learn to bridge the physical and digital to provide a seamless shopping experience for customers and at the same time, implement some necessary precautions to provide contactless shopping to avoid hygiene concerns.

These changes have been possible because of the use of omnichannel technologies such as order management systems, inventory management systems, in-store mobile devices, and more. Also, more retailers are looking to keep up with the challenges and have been turning to technology for the same. In 2021, retailers are aware of the path they should take to keep the pace of the environment and to survive. The lessons learned from 2020, so let’s check out what to keep and what to avoid to acquire these experiences right.

Why Low Operational Efficiency?

A study by Forrester Consulting shows that 67% of retailers are concerned about low operational efficiency, but only 27% feel in control of it. This gap stems from a lack of understanding of what causes inefficiency and leads to an inability to fix them.

Broadly speaking, low operational efficiency occurs due to,

  • Outdated inventory practices that cause unwanted items to pile up and leave out the essential and fast-moving items
  • Disconnect between online and offline systems, so what’s shown as available on the website is not available in the store
  • Poor understanding of market demands and changing customer preferences
  • Poor orchestration of the existing systems, especially in an omnichannel environment
  • High employee turnover

All these reasons can occur in isolation or in tandem to bring down the efficiency and the resulting profits.

Bad Customer Experience

In today’s competitive environment, you simply can’t afford to lose customers because they had a bad experience in your store or website. Some of the possible contributors to bad customer experience are:

  • Long queues
  • Customers are unable to find what they want quickly
  • The disconnection between employees and customers, especially when employees are unable to answer customers’ queries
  • Social distance in the wake of the pandemic
  • Lack of a personalized shopping experience

Remember, you have only a couple of minutes to impress your customer, so even a small misstep can be critical.

Silver Lining – A Digital Transformation

Though bad customer experience and low operational efficiency can sound like a double whammy, it’s not all so bad because you can address both the issues with the right digital transformation and technology.

The right technology that you choose must

  • Facilitate quick checkouts
  • Provide a personalized shopping experience where the store associates can suggest the right products based on past buying patterns.
  • Inventory is up-to-date and at a place where it’s easy to find
  • Employees can answer questions accurately based on updated information available on their handheld devices
  • The digital and physical stores are streamlined to provide a user-friendly experience for customers
  • All the different digital channels and devices are connected to ensure that the complexity of managing them doesn’t overwhelm your resources
  • Has a short learning curve for employees, so they can get on the job right away.

Now, if you’re wondering whether such in-store technologies even exist, Shopi’s solutions are the best fit for you. With Shopi’s Assist, your store associates are guided with smart mobile devices that consist of what they need from customer information to product detail. It also enables mobile checkout from anywhere in-store without having to ask your customers to wait in long lines. Store managers and the HQ can easily track the performance of both stores and specifically the employees if the given goal is reached. For customers who’d like to experience self-shopping due to hygiene concerns, can easily use Shopi’s Sign, in-store kiosks, to complete the shopping process by choosing the product they like and complete checkout without any guidance.

Moreover, Shopi provides full control over the stock of your online and offline stores with its Order & Inventory Hub solution. The entire inventory of your operation is first centralized and then thanks to the smart routing algorithm, finds its place in the most cost-effective and optimal way possible that meet your customers’ need  This way, out-of-stock problems are diminished by having full control over your stock in real-time, and customer satisfactory level increases as they never have to face the answer “no”. To learn more about our solutions to overcome these times of crisis and be beyond traditional retail operations, contact us now!