Manage the Christmas Season Better Using Retail Apps
With the Christmas season upon us the retail industry is at its busiest time of the year. Many stores are focused on introducing special promotions and maximising sales.
At such busy times of the year, managing retail operations can be an immense challenge. This is made even harder by the busy and complicated nature of staff schedules, as many staff members will be taking time off while additional members of staff will be hired to cover the busy season.
Retail apps can help make this process a lot simpler, easier and more efficient by helping companies better manage retail operations and support their staff.
In this article we look at some ideas for how retail apps can help better manage the busy festive season and lead to higher customer satisfaction and increased efficiency.
1. Shift management app
A sales support app is the best way to ensure retail staff have everything they need in the busy festive period and that they can be as efficient as possible.
An app can include all necessary information to help ensure that employees are aware of their schedules, from special opening hours to staff rotas. The app can also push any schedule or other updates directly to employees’ mobile devices to minimise miscommunication with management.
But there are other ways in which a sales support app can make sales as smooth as possible for employees. For example, the app could include all relevant information on new promotions, special sales and price adjustments to ensure that all retail staff are able to sell optimally.
The app could also suggest specific items for employees to push and point out items that are exclusive to the store.
Being able to sell items using the app on a tablet instead of a cash register could also prove invaluable to deal with rush times and reduce waiting times. This would also give employees greater mobility around the store, maximising the use of space and reaching customers wherever necessary.
2. Stock availability app
Busy retail seasons are also times of great ups and downs in product stock and retail staff spend much of their time checking if certain items are available in the stockroom.
With an app, this process could be made much easier by offering staff a database containing all available items that they can easily check on their smartphone or tablet. The database can be linked to the cash register system, ensuring that it is updated whenever a sale is made.
By using an app, staff could tell customers within seconds whether the item they are looking for is available, rather than having to waste time going to the stockroom to check in person or queueing to check on a computer that is likely to be in use at busy times.
A stock availability app can also prove invaluable when restocking, as the relevant staff can easily check what items have sold in order to reorder them and what items need to be brought to the store from the stockroom. It could also send push notifications to notify staff when a particular product is running low on stock.
The app could even contain analytics to show what products have been selling best and give management a better idea of which they should be re-ordering.
3. Training app
As mentioned earlier, during the festive season it is common for retail companies to hire additional staff in order to meet the high demand and busy commercial times.
Although additional staff offer invaluable support at such a busy time of the year, they also often pose a great challenge: the need to quickly train them to efficiently carry out their job.
Most companies choose to either hold training sessions for new employees or “train” them on-the-go, expecting them to learn their job through trial and error. However, neither of these approaches is ideal; the former is cost-inefficient, particularly in the long run, and the latter can lead to poor customer satisfaction and serious mishaps.
A training app can provide an alternative to these options by offering employees a one-size-fits-all solution that they can use to complete training in their own time, using their own mobile devices.
Not only does this approach reduce new staff’s reliance on existing staff, but it is also a much more efficient training method that can make learning more engaging. Apps do this by including a variety of media as content, from video and interactive charts to embedded documents, offering new staff a much more comprehensive view of the job.
The ability for employees to complete this training whenever is most convenient also ensures that they do so when they are at their most receptive.
The possibilities of training apps are endless, a particularly popular approach being the inclusion of “gamification” features such as quizzes and reward systems. For example, users could be asked to complete a quiz in order to test their knowledge after they have covered a particular topic. Their results could then be displayed in an interactive chart, allowing users to track their own progress.
High-performing users could then be rewarded with points and badges, providing them with an additional incentive to complete training.
4. Leave tracker app
The end of year is a time when employees will need extra assistance from management to get leave requests signed off. This can be a challenge for HR teams, who need to carefully comb through the many leave requests while ensuring that minimum required staff availability is ensured.
This process can be made a lot easier for both employees and HR staff by using an app. HR could simply update the app with all available leave dates and with each individual’s remaining leave days in order to reduce the need for staff and HR to go back and forth with requests and information.
HR could also pre-approve certain dates for employees or set a minimum number of staff required for each date, which the app can update as leave requests become approved. This would reduce employees’ reliance on HR by ensuring that they only request dates that have already been pre-approved.
An app is also an easy way for HR to get in touch with employees during the vacations via push notifications. This may prove essential in the event of staff shortages of issues with leave dates, as employees are likely not to check their email while on vacation.
5. Staff discounts app
Finally, many retail companies may wish to reward employees at the end of the year for their hard work with special bonuses and discounts.
An app can be the perfect platform to easily deliver these to all employees without risking any coupons getting lost in their email inbox. The app could simply group relevant discounts and coupons by category, allowing staff members to scan them at the relevant outlets.
Any information on end-of-year bonuses could also be included in the app, ensuring that employees are aware of them and giving them a higher sense of reward.
Retail apps could be the perfect platforms to help you better manage the busy festive retail season.
In this article we outlined some ideas for the kinds of apps we believe could help. Have you come across any other great apps? Please share them with us in the comments section.