Checkit: Follow this tip if you want to master retail operations management

After all of the turmoil of the past two years, executives in retail operations will wonder what the next step is. One thing is for sure, digitization is going to be a big factor, not only in terms of the online experience, but also in physical stores. What does this mean for the management of retail operations?

Improving efficiency and the customer experience are the driving forces of a acceleration of digital transformation in retail, according to an international survey of 161 industry ICT decision makers. The survey, conducted by DataDriven, indicated that improving customer satisfaction was the top priority to strengthen competitive positioning. At the same time, almost three-quarters of those polled said efficiency was a high or extremely high priority, and only a few fewer said improvements in productivity and collaboration were at the top of their lists. tasks.

To achieve these goals, leaders will need to rethink their approach to managing retail operations. It is only by reshaping their operations that retailers can reshape the way they serve customers.

However, the survey recognized a series of challenges that are slowing the progress of digitization, including:

  • Lack of time to innovate

  • Concern about the time it takes for projects to show value

  • Difficulty in gaining acceptance for new technologies

  • Complexity of business process change

  • Growing customer demands

In our recent retail trends webinar, we sought advice from a retail operations manager for an effective digital transformation.

Hannah Barnes, Vice President of Operational Excellence for BP Outlets in Europe and Southern Africa, shared her thoughts on creating the right conditions for success.

Define the starting point for the digitalization of the management of retail operations

Choosing the use cases that offer the fastest feedback will help executives gain early support, Hannah said. “The right place to start is asking where can you add the most value? The first technology we brought in after I joined was a very simple use case. This was to replace a simple back office process with a process that has been digitized. It took 10 hours of work a week, which is a tangible benefit that people could cling to, and made a big difference immediately. My advice is to start where you get the most bang for your buck for the benefit of the employees. People will adopt it if it makes sense and if it makes sense to them. ”

Don’t lose sight of human interaction when balancing the digital equation

Digital transformation programs must never lose sight of the human element, said Hannah. “Data helps you make the right decisions to inform the way you operate. Anything that helps distill what employees should and shouldn’t be doing is positive. There is enormous value in extracting this. But I think the tricky part is how you analyze it and get the right result. I don’t want to be completely data dependent. There is always a need for human intervention or interaction. There is a huge place for data making both the customer and colleague experience better and improve results. If you are equipped with the right information, that makes it easier. But also maybe I still have an old-fashioned view that you need this human interaction to bring it to life. ”

Look for good examples of managing retail operations

Expanding your field of vision reveals new ideas for the app digital solutions in retail environments. “One of the things I love about my job is that I see programs of change in all markets,” Hannah said. “I was in Poland recently and there are a lot of really cool initiatives like using digital screens. A colleague of mine sent me a great example of digital screens used in stores. It was like a emoji speech bubble above the top of the shelf, as if the ad speaks to you. The way other people approach changes in the management of retail operations is so interesting to learn. As you go as you move around the different european countries you see how they apply things slightly differently. Using helmets is one example. I see them used differently everywhere I go. It really helps to get out there and see what people do in European markets. ”

Involve staff in the management of retail operations

Frontline teams are always at the forefront of most in-store interactions. Hannah said finding ways to connect with her colleagues is a major focus of her digital initiatives. “If you are a gas station you are part of the local community and the way our colleagues deliver makes the difference between a great customer experience or not. By freeing up more time for employees, you can see the amazing ideas people bring to life, the generosity of the people who work in the store, and their ability to spend time with customers. the workshop with clients. But there are plenty of really positive examples. Our staff at Wild Bean Café are so engaged and passionate about what they do and it often makes a difference. They are passionate defenders of the brand. We also have a lot of people going the extra mile and it all comes down to you giving them the time, space and the right environment. This is usually the difference between having a great customer experience or not. Of course, there are a lot of functional things that contribute to the customer experience, and the work we do in smart operations contributes to that. But for me the differentiator is how you give your colleagues time to be able to invest in the customer. ”

Learn data to optimize the management of retail operations

Digitization projects can generate huge amounts of data useful for managing retail operations. But at extract the value from this data, it’s vital to analyze and act on new information, Hannah said. She highlighted examples ranging from car wash equipment to product availability. “An example is our car washing business, which is affected by the outside temperature. We’ve spent a lot of time capturing how quickly we react to temperature changes and turning our car washes on and off. Data identified that we could lose between one and two hours of trading every time the temperature changed because we weren’t quick enough to turn the car wash back on. This is something we would never have discovered if we hadn’t had sensors on the equipment. We then moved on to digitizing this process to make sure we responded more quickly. There are many other examples. Another is the use of the toilet. We looked at facility monitoring to understand how often they are used and how often they need to be cleaned. There are also many tangible elements. benefits by looking at the availability of products on the food service. The resulting data allows us to determine how we make sure that at 5 a.m. we have enough bacon and cheese turnovers ready, because we know this is one of our best-selling products in that time of day. It all comes from having the data. ”

Want to know more? See how Checkit is helping bp digitize its retail operations