There’s no doubt about it – the world of retail is inherently fast-paced, requiring stores to achieve an exceptional level of efficiency to stay afloat in today’s economy – and, ultimately, survive. With a plethora of big-name retailers feeling the pinch in recent years – and many recording record losses – there’s continued pressure for high-street chains and independents alike to streamline their in-store operations or risk failure.
Today, we’re examining the key actions retailers can take to accelerate their store’s efficiency.
Make use of new technology
For retailers with a physical presence, technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years in terms of the benefits it offers. If you’re not innovating the way your store uses technology, there’s every chance that you’re missing out on opportunities to both save and make money. One of the most widespread examples of this is the self-service checkout, which is a common sight in the UK, Europe and, increasingly, the US – cutting costs and giving consumers greater choice simultaneously.
Whether you’re using mobile POS systems to take pressure away from the checkout counters, leading your digital transformation efforts using multi-channel demographics data or even trialling AI as a way to cut labour costs, to stay relevant in the 21st century, it’s crucial that your in-store technology is evolving with the times.
Update your stockroom
Despite the fact that it plays a crucial role in day-to-day operations, a brick-and-mortar store’s stockroom is easily neglected in favour of more glamorous, high-profile retail exploits like online marketing, front-of-house sales staff and merchandising – but that’s a costly mistake for a retailer to make, whether you’re a huge multinational or a local startup. Stockroom shelving, inventory management and even details like labelling and stock colour coordination can greatly improve a stockroom’s efficiency – and, therefore, customer-facing operations, too.
With an effective stock replenishment system in place using optimised storage shelves, customers won’t be left disappointed when it comes to their shopping experience due to out-of-stock goods. It also reduces the time taken by floor staff to locate goods, saving time and money.
Harness your online insights
In this day and age, it’s rare for physical retailers to not have some sort of presence online – and because vast amounts of data are acquired from users interacting with your websites and social platforms, you’ll be amassing a powerful tool you may not even realise you have. Analysing what your customers look at, what they buy, where they come from and what their interests are can help to inform part of a wider physical strategy that looks to capitalise on existing digital insights – which is a powerful strategy indeed.
A truly streamlined in-store operation will take into account what its online audience is doing – for example, prioritising certain products for POS displays and shelves as a result of sales online, promoting certain offers across multiple channels to boost your marketing efforts or even redesigning your layout.
Try different shelving and display strategies
When it comes to shelving, you’d be forgiven for assuming there’s a one-size-fits-all solution. In truth, this simply isn’t true. What you’re selling will play an important role in how your store (and the products within) are laid out, so consider the best way to plan out the available floor and shelf space. For example, a luxury store selling a small but refined range will avoid cluttering their products – as this can make things appear cheaper. On the other hand, a supermarket will often use a straightforward vertical floor plan in order to stock large volumes of goods efficiently.
Whether you use an angular floor plan to display your products in a unique way, a diagonal floor plan for increased visibility or even a mixed plan to accommodate a wide range of stock, consider how yours can balance practicality and aesthetics. Read more about the different types of floor plans.
Of course, an important cornerstone in any retail operation is the use of optimised shelving solutions, both at the back and the front of the store. Our shelving specialists have supported a huge variety of businesses to improve their retail store, offering free site surveys to help us understand the needs of our customers and come up with bespoke solutions that work.
Call 01908 525 700 to find out more or book your survey today. Or, for more information, browse our huge range of shelves online.