Everyone shops online! That’s a sad reality for offline stores that at one point, enjoyed a monopoly of the market. Since online retailers offer convenience at slashed pricing throughout the year – competing with them over these methods is generally ineffective. To compete, stores try to use customer service as a way to stand out. However, as per numerous studies, offline stores consider their workforce to be an expense rather than a medium to provide better service, thereby driving sales.
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Workforce management in offline stores is unstable. Multiple studies have concluded one basic fact – retailers tend to understaff during peak hours. This happens because they don’t have any historical data that accurately pinpoints durations where they can plan to have more staff. An increase in the number of employees during such periods could decrease queues and significantly increase customer satisfaction.
Apart from understaffing, stores tend to keep numerous employees ‘on-call’. In most retail stores, on-call employees are scheduled to work shifts that may get canceled anytime until 2 hours before the start of the shift. Keeping employees “on-call” is common practice in stores to manage understaffing issues. While on-call employees can be of great help during peak hours, there is no data that can anticipate requirements.
Moreover, overburdening and rotating schedules can be extremely difficult for any employee. Add to it customer management, and you have a recipe for disaster. Overworked employees will not be able to help out customers with energy, drive, and passion. For an outlet, this means less customer satisfaction, lower sales.
According to a “Stable Scheduling Study”, substandard execution in offline stores is directly linked to unstable scheduling. However, if businesses solve that aspect, they may be able to drive higher sales. In fact, it will ensure that the customer can find a member of staff, the moment they need one.
The apparent question now would be, ‘How to schedule retail staff?’. The answer is straightforward – by opting for scheduling software for retail companies and managing your staff in real-time. This software tool is essential for retailers as it allows them to create work schedules in minutes and gives more power to the employees. Following are some of the essential things a scheduler can do:
- Boost Productivity: The tool comes with a handy database that records the skillsets of your employees. With it, you can assign a particular job to the most skilled of the available personnel, thereby ensuring that the work done is of optimum performance.
- Enjoy Flexi-timings: Automation can allow you to create flexible schedules in minutes. An AI model maps time-stamps with available hours and creates all required shifts on a user-friendly calendar. These shifts come with a drag-and-drop feature so employees can quickly move their shifts around if they are unavailable.
- Eliminate On-Calls: Using the software can give you actual data, which shows when your store is packed and when you could do with fewer employees. Through data, you get the power to control wages spent and eliminate the need for on-call employees. Your staff would know when they need to come in and would not have to hang around until shift cancellations.
- Increase Job Satisfaction: Sloppy scheduling can wreak havoc on the morale of your employees. Your staff should feel indispensable. Otherwise, they may not want to continue working for you, irrespective of the money you offer. Allowing employees to use the scheduling software to swap shifts, manage time, complete tasks, and communicate can have a positive impact. It can help employees get a sense of belonging, which is usually lacking in retail and other businesses with a rotating staff.
In a randomized experiment conducted by the “Stable Scheduling Study”, scheduling software was implemented at a few GAP stores. The experiment concluded that sales in stores with stable scheduling went up by 7% – that’s a lot for an industry that works very hard to increase sales by even 1%. Apart from an increase in sales, it was noted that during the experiment, productivity went up 5% as compared to a 2.5% increase in productivity every year from 1987 to 2014.
While most retailers understand the need for more-stable scheduling, most still rely on spreadsheets to create work logs and calendars. However, this approach is old-school. To compete with an ever-growing online industry, retailers must decrease labor costs while increasing sales. As studies suggest, you can only do so if you have the right data to take productive actions. Scheduling software for retail companies can do wonders in increasing sales and boosting productivity.
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