Article

Prioritizing Team Collaboration Has Far Reaching Benefits For Brick & Mortar Retailers

Brands focused on unifying teams, fostering collaboration, and improving cross-functional visibility are seeing both a shift in culture and improved store performance  

There is no disputing that retail technology is benefiting brick & mortar retailers in a growing number of ways. Today’s technology is driving an evolution of the industry that is fundamentally changing retail and the ability of brick & mortar brands to optimize their retail operations, connect with consumers in-store and build brand loyalty.  Yet one aspect of effectively leveraging retail technology –and effective retailing in general –that is often overlooked but is critical for successful brands is the degree to which teams collaborate and work together to achieve shared goals and optimize stores. Unefi’s retail management platform software Optimum Retailing (OR) was developed with a goal to unify teams across functions and make it seamless for them to collaborate in order too ptimize brick and mortar retail performance. 

Optimizing communication 
For the brick-and-mortar retail industry, communication between management in HQ and those at the store level is critical. It influences compliance levels, the strength of employee engagement, the vibrancy of the in-store customer experience, and overall store performance. It also allows the big ideas and vision from the top to make their way to store teams, ensuring directives are effectively communicated, executed, and followed. 

Far from the old days when organizational communication could be one-way, aligning and strengthening retail teams now requires the right tools and processes to ensure effective communication between management in HQ and those frontline employees who have a unique and powerful local point of view.  The visibility management can gain into store operations with the right tools also provides them with a powerful understanding of local insights that can have a big impact in strengthening and localizing go-to-market strategies. 

 It’s no surprise then, that when organizational communication is lacking in retail, the implications are significant. From frustrated store employees to missed or misinterpreted planograms, compliance becomes difficult to achieve and stores fail to reach their potential. Revenue is impacted, and both merchandising and marketing execution run the risk of not resonating with local customers. 

OR simplifies and streamlines communications, making it easier for everyone to share and collaborate.

Optimizing workforce visibility and management 
Today’s brick and mortar retailers and store managers face the ongoing challenge of creating memorable consumer experiences in-store, while looking for operational efficiencies and cost savings to positively impact store performance, including reducing employees’ non-sellable hours. Yet as retailers look to optimize their stores, many remain unsure of what tools exist and which ones can have the greatest impact on store performance. 

Workforce management software like OR is shifting the way retailers plan and execute at the store level by offering a platform rooted in transparency and powerful insights that have the ability to increase productivity and reduce non-sellable hours. With the OR platform, retailers are given critical visibility into how frontline staff are currently spending hours, and what the breakdown is between sellable and non-sellable hours. The resulting insights allow retailers to make smarter, more informed decisions around who is working when, and what tasks and activities they should prioritize. For example, by inputing the amount of time it takes to execute a campaign and level of effort (LOE), OR can predict how long a store will need to execute a campaign on a per-campaign and per-fixture level.  LOE is automatically calculated by and visible to admin and store staff prior to a campaign launch. 

OR’s workforce management module is also fundamentally shifting how stores plan for future campaigns based on the understanding of the LOE to execute. For example, admin staff can see the impact of planogram changes for a store and determine if the changes are worth the LOE. Similarly, store managers can determine the staffing requirements for an up coming campaign, avoiding being over or understaffed. Armed with those types of insights and intelligence around the cost of personnel, retailers that have incorporated workforce management software have seen significant labour related cost-savings, while successfully redirecting employees’ time to activities that have a greater impact on both the consumer experience and the bottom line.

 Breaking down cultural silos 
As organizations increasingly adopt retail technology to deliver a superior in-store customer experience, companies like OR work with clients on creating a culture that sets them up for success. While many companies are digitally-focused and nimble –requirements to successfully engage today’s consumer –thought needs to be given to how to effectively incorporate a unified platform for store communications, how to assess and break down internal barriers, who to get involved within the organization –and when –in order to maximize success, and how all stakeholders can effectively work together to achieve shared goals. More and more retailers are realizing the business imperative of leveraging retail data and operating with full visibility and integrated communications across their organizations. Only then can management systems and departmental silos work together cohesively, and incorporating OR can help retailers make that shift. 

Optimizing overall team performance with a data-driven strategy 
Capturing in-store data and gaining insights into SKUs, customer behaviours, patterns, and the overall digital footprint customers leave in-store has both internal and customer-facing benefits that are giving retailers a competitive edge. At its core, a data-driven strategy leads to improved merchandising and the ability to anticipate trends. Its easy to see then why a data-driven strategy has become a priority for retailers, which OR supports with a focus on operational metrics such as cost to execute a campaign, value of assets in-store, campaign compliance/retail execution and communication with ticketing and tasks.

With the visibility teams gain through OR, teams and brands are better equipped to work together as a team to maximize operational efficiencies. Our clients on average see an increase in traffic of between 25-30%, average top-line growth of 10%, and average bottom-line improvements of 30% -all within the first 12-18 months.

Prioritization of the frontline 
In recent years, the majority of retailers have come to realize that frontline staff are uniquely positioned to assess, manage, and adjust a customer’s direct experience with a brand, with the frontline becoming a top priority in retail planning and executing local go-to-market strategies as a result. 

That shift has resulted in many retailers engaging the frontline as decision makers who provide strategic input and feedback, and involving them in problem solving which can pay dividends for retailers in terms of impact on same-store sales and customer engagement. When OR on-boards a new client, we prioritize frontline training which reflects our view –and that of our clients –that the frontline is a strategic asset.

 When team collaboration is prioritized, silos are broken down, and teams are given broad visibility in retail planning, the benefits can be deep and far reaching. From a positive shift in corporate culture to more engaged employees to improved store performance, OR is helping leading global brands harness the power of teams to optimize their retail.Join other leading global brick & mortar retail brands and get OR working to propel your brand forward today. 

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