HOW RETAILERS CAN PAMPER THEIR CUSTOMERS WITH THE VERY BEST SERVICES
It was in 1994, when a certain Jeffrey Preston Bezos had the idea of a bookstore on the Internet. He developed his idea into an actual business model virtually out of the garage. Some 24 years later, what was once a simple bookstore has become a global corporation. Now, there is virtually nothing that cannot be ordered from the Bezos organization – including food, most recently. The value of the company now exceeds one trillion US dollars. But Jeff Bezos has not only written his own success story, but has also revolutionized the world of shopping.
"Showroom" instead of space: more than ever before, the focus is on the customer
If you take a close look, Jeff and his little idea from back then are the reason why so many stationary retail companies today have to fight for every customer and submit to the digital transformation. Retail companies today must therefore focus more than ever on the most important factor in their industry, customers and all their needs and wishes. Shopping is no longer just about buying goods. Customers want to enjoy themselves, and expect a perfect shopping experience or excellent advice in their precious free time. According to a study by PwC, instead of simply offering floor space, stationary retail is becoming more of a "showroom" today. The pure retail business has largely transitioned into the digital world. This makes it all the more important for retailers to perceive the trends and go along with the times.
From sales staff to entertainers
Naturally, the conventional retail store itself is not a totally outdated concept, nor has it been brought to its knees by online commerce. But the focus has changed in the omni-channel age. According to the PwC study, 54 percent of all respondents still shop at least once a week in a stationary store, while 46 percent even prefer retail stores. Food retailing and cosmetics still account for the most important share. By contrast, electronics and media are mostly purchased online. One reason why stationary trade is increasingly receding into the background is the gap between customer expectations and actual service on the sales floor. Pure salespeople are out, and offline shopping in particular requires dedicated customer service and an enjoyable purchasing. Staff on the floor in stationary retailing must offer their customers genuine added value.
High-precision workforce management is crucial
Today’s customers expect qualified advice to support their purchasing decisions. If there are many customers in the store at peak times and not enough employees on the shop floor, the required service levels cannot be maintained. What were potential buyers will exit the shop and sales will wither accordingly – sometimes permanently. The other extreme is having too many employees on the shop floor while only few customers are at hand. Service can now be provided, but is not needed. This results in unproductive working time and unnecessary personnel costs. Both scenarios are not cost-efficient and can be avoided thanks to software-supported, demand-optimized workforce scheduling.
Customer-oriented working hours ensure better service and higher sales
A high-performance workforce management system analyzes demand drivers from the past – such as customer footfall, sales data, receipt sizes or number of receipts. Moreover, special offers and even weather data flow into the planning. This results in a forecast that determines exactly how many customers can be expected in which week, on which day and at which hour. Personnel capacities can be planned in a demand- and customer-oriented manner so as to not only elevate the frequency of purchases and sales figures, but also customer satisfaction. And satisfied or even enthusiastic customers will gladly return ...
Today, retail companies cannot do without professional planning tools if they want to be successful in the long term. Demand-optimized workforce management, factoring in legislation, tariffs, working time accounts, specific demand drivers and also employee wishes, is simply too complex to be calculated manually. And those who only plan with gut feeling and spreadsheets, as in the past, are guaranteed to lose customers and money on top as a result.
Admittedly, things were a lot easier for retailers back in 1994. But the times have changed. And it all started in a garage – as a mail-order bookstore.