By Andrew Getter, Retail Sales Manager, UK, Scandit
As many retailers prepare to and even start reopening stores, it’s essential to consider the impact that social distancing will have on footfall for (probably) at least the next 10-12 months. Social distancing measures mean fewer people in your stores at any one time, which in turn means customers may have to wait to enter your shop.
Here are three things retailers will want to consider and plan for as you reopen your brick and mortar stores:
1. Speed of Service
It might sound a little counterintuitive, but this year you’ll need to turn customers around faster than ever before. It goes against everything we have focussed on in recent years, where the aim was to increase customer dwell time to increase sales. But social distancing will mean fewer people in your stores and at times there will be queues to get in – that means less footfall and fewer sales for you. So, this year you will need to service your customer faster, complete the sale faster and send them on their way, so you can get the next customer off the pavement and into the store.
Service will still be king – you need to sell faster, but you cannot sacrifice customer service. In fact, your service and clienteling needs to be better than ever before. This year you can’t afford to waste time finding answers to your customers’ questions or to leave their side to make simple stock enquiries. You certainly can’t afford to lose the sale when you haven’t got what they want in-store, but you can get it from your distribution centre or another store. You’ll need to equip your staff with the digital tools they need to answer customer questions and even save the sale with web orders when stock is not available in the store. Giving every employee a scan-enabled smart device integrated with back office systems lets them access relevant information with a quick scan, answering questions on the spot. See how this can work:
2. Staff Training
Whilst you are training your staff on new social distancing measures, this will also be a great time to give them a customer service and sales training refresh. Staff need to ensure that they make the most of every customer engagement.
Remember, social distancing will mean fewer customers in store at any one time and therefore your staff will be able to have more direct customer conversations – so make them count! Your customers will inevitably need assistance to find what they want, so help them make their purchase and send them away as happy customers.
3. Stock Control & Merchandising Tools
With in-store sales having stopped dead for three months, you will need to make the very most of your stock for the remainder of the year. That means knowing exactly what stock you have in each store. This ensures that your stock replenishment programmes can drive the best use of remaining stock, sending it to stores that need it the most and that can actually sell it. If all you do is regularly count your best sellers (remember to include online best sellers as they might not match stores) you will be able to confidently fulfil your customer needs, whether the customer ultimately makes their purchase online or in-store.
You will want to count stock as often as you can and that means that staff on the shop floor need to have the right tools. If you already have hardware scanners available in your stores, then great, but do you have enough and are staff still content to share devices? If not, you can avoid that expense by deploying low cost mobile devices, that when powered by Scandit will perform as well as those old, traditional scanning devices. As smartphones are more cost effective to procure you can give every employee a device to use, with the added advantage of removing the risks now associated with multiple users handling the same device. You could reduce costs even further by enabling a BYOD policy (bring your own device) so that your staff can use their own personal smartphones. Watch how smart devices can speed up and simplify stock taking below:
Moving from dwell to sell – this will be the year of Speedy Service
This year has got off to a challenging start, the retail landscape has literally changed under our feet and, whether we like it or not, the world is different. It’s those retailers who can adapt quickly that will get through the next twelve months. I think we can all predict the acceleration of online retail, and while I suspect we will see consumer habits change in ways we are yet to imagine, we will still want to go to physical stores to shop – as was demonstrated by the lengthy queues at various stores when they reopened their doors to customers earlier this month.
Scandit helps retailers worldwide to deploy scalable solutions into their stores with mobile computer vision on everyday smart devices – from rapidly scaling up e-commerce fulfillment to deploying customer self-scanning solutions.
To learn more, get in touch and one of our retail experts will be happy to talk to you.