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Though the retail trading environment has been unpredictable over the last couple of years. Many retailers have found ways to improve their businesses, pivoting into new ways of operating. Now, more than ever, it’s important that retailers continue to find new ways to optimise their operations.
What are Retail Operations?
So, What are retail operations? Job descriptions for retail operations and retail managers vary from company to company. However, the meaning of retail operations generally encompasses the supply chain, cash operations, people management, inventory, store layout, promotions, pricing, and data management aspects within a retail business. It’s a lot to balance, and doing so properly is what helps retailers excel.
What does a Retail Operations Manager do?
Retail operations management is one of the most dynamic positions in the industry. In some companies, the operations manager may travel to different locations and oversee many stores. Their jobs revolve around scheduling, staffing, training, and facilitating communications between head office and stores.
Retail operations managers need to be effective communicators, highly organised and good with numbers. The operations manager manages budgets, visual merchandising processes, store layouts and oversees in store displays.
Operations managers can improve their performance by focusing on building communication skills. The ability to provide direct feedback and direction is particularly important for operations managers. Likewise, operations managers need to be willing to receive feedback.
If not located in-store, operations managers need to be easily reachable. With many schedules to manage, it can become an overwhelming. An effective operations manager will use an automated system to help balance their schedule.
How to improve retail operation processes
Digitise internal processes
There are a lot of time-consuming internal tasks within the retail environment that you can easily digitise. These technologies can help reduce the risk of human error. Cashless payments help speed up the payment process, reducing queueing time, especially when you offer contactless payment options.
Likewise, a stellar inventory management system is crucial to effective store operations. Square Inventory Management can help you out.
Automate manual retail processes
Many retailers are working with multiple legacy systems each serving a different purpose. Often, these systems do not communicate with each other, which makes everyone’s job more difficult.
For example, imagine if you only had one system for invoicing, inventory, timesheets and point of sale transactions? By integrating and automating, you can reduce the risk of errors and increase business efficiency, which will save you time and money. of all sizes can benefit from Retail POS and Team Management tools.
Create a seamless omnichannel experience
What does omnichannel mean? Put simply, it’s an integrated approach, which allows your customers to shop and purchase in-store, online and through social media. It’s a rapidly growing approach that retailers can’t afford to ignore. Customer behaviours have evolved with the retail landscape, and retailers have to react. Customers are asking for the same level of efficiency and service across the board. If they can easily browse your website on a desktop, it should be equally as simple to do so from their phone and in-store.
The more channels a customer can engage with your business on, the more they are likely to spend. Allowing online shopping and collection in-store also helps customers avoid the aspects of the shopping experience that they dislike. For example, they don’t need to queue, pick through sizes, or look for the right product. They simply walk in and collect the item they have already chosen and paid for.
You should also address your online purchasing process. All aspects of your business should work together seamlessly. With Square Online, you can create your own seamless omnichannel experience.
Accept customer feedback
The most successful retailers strive to create a personalised experience for their customers. You can’t do this without first listening to your customer’s requirements, preferences, suggestions and desires. It’s easier to achieve this with online shoppers as you can track their reviews and shopping behaviours. It’s more challenging for in-store customers. Customer loyalty is the key to any successful business, and retail is no different.
With Square Feedback, you can receive private feedback that you can respond to quickly, right from your Square POS dashboard. It has never been easier to manage customer satisfaction.
Merchandising is a large part of the retail operation process, and it is important both online and in-store. Your products need to sell to make room for new products as they arrive. Your order process should be streamlined to ensure bestsellers remain in stock and in the right size quantities. This will ensure you avoid out of stock items on popular buys and overstocks for those less than popular items. An inventory management tool will help with much of this, but strong visual merchandising skills are another must.
Merchandising relies on selling the right product, at the right price, in the right quantity and place, at the right time. With all manner of tasks to do in a retail environment, the balance must be right. There’s stock handling, customer service, POS transactions, deliveries, merchandising, inventory, and cleaning. A team management tool will allow you to automate the scheduling process to ensure your team is as productive as possible while keeping your costs low.