Is Your Store Assistant Knowledgeable About Your Products?

Author: Poornima Mohandas

Time to read: 2 minutes

 

The training manager at Bangalore-based high-end retailer of fine writing instruments and lifestyle accessories, William Penn, was having a tough week at work. She had just travelled across Bangalore, Kochi, and Mysore to conduct training and competency tests for the newly recruited store assistant. At the end of the week, she was totally spent. She realized she spent way too much time on travel rather than on talent attraction and employee retention. 

 

She decided to take some action. She moved her company from classroom training to online training with Wooqer and the results were overwhelming! She could now:

  • Minimize her travel and spend more time with her family
  • Free up time wasted in delivering training and grading assignments
  • Better assess training consumption and effectiveness
  • Have time to work on new training content

 

Training your store staff is directly proportional to your sales. We find that retailers who recognize that and are willing to invest in training are far ahead of their peers. 

 

 

According to PwC, 40% of consumers feel that sales associates with deep and extensive product knowledge improve their shopping experiences considerably

 

 

 

Here’s a quick test to see if you need to invest more in training your store assistants: 

  • Are your store staff in tier II and III cities able to articulate the value of your products? 
  • Are they able to direct customers to appropriate sections of the store?
  • Do they speak confidently about the latest promotions and offers?

If you said no to any of the above, read on. We’ll tell you about the many advantages of online training.

 

1. Make Training Convenient and Engaging

Training needs to be convenient not just for the trainee but also for the trainer. Online training can significantly lift the burden on the trainer. 

 

Says Sunil Sadagopal, General Manager – Operations at Home Centre, “Earlier every time a bulk of new employees joined, Home Centre would arrange classroom training for them. We had to print all the training material.” But now Home Centre, –which is part of the $6 billion Landmark group and has 49 stores and 1,500 employees across India– uses Wooqer to train new employees. “Now we give new joiners login credentials and they can learn and take assessments at their own pace.”

 

Let your training be easy to consume anytime, anywhere, using any device. Store staff should be able to consume training when they are riding the bus to work. Make training engaging with explainer videos, images, contests, and interactive sessions.

 

2. Offer Bite-Sized Learning and Reinforcement to Improve Retention

According to German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus’ landmark research in the 1880s, we forget 75% of what we were taught in six days without any reinforcement. 

So what can you do to make training stick:

  • Serve up bite-sized training that people can snack on
  • Reinforce training with tests, quizzes, and contests
  • Provide different formats of training to appeal to visual learners
  • Make your staff repeat the same online course periodically

 

3. Increase SSPD from Tier II & Tier III Stores

Classroom training is not scalable. Your trainers may visit and train the stores in tier I cities but what about your tier II and tier III stores? The only way to make training scalable is to switch to online training. This way, training becomes democratic and you can increase SSPD (sales per square foot) from your tier II and tier III stores. 

 

4. Get Better Visibility of Training Effectiveness

So you have delivered your training, now what? You want to know if your training was effective. In online training you should be able to:

  • Monitor and drive training consumption
  • Assess training effectiveness
  • Gauge feedback easily

 

5. Cut Down Travel and Printing Costs

Once you switch to online training you can have savings on two fronts: travel costs and paper and printing costs. Say goodbye to printing training material for your staff. 

 

“The biggest saving is on paper and printing costs,” says Sadagopal from Home Centre after switching to Wooqer for training. 

 

What’s more, you can market your company as an environmentally conscious retailer and appeal to the discerning millennial customer. 

 

6. Allow Your Trainers To Be More Effective

Once you move to online training you can allow your trainers to be more strategic. Suddenly there is an effort shift from content delivery to content creation. It also frees up time for other initiatives around attracting new talent and employee retention.

 

To sum up, conducting classroom training sessions is not convenient and neither is it scalable. Your coverage tends to be patchy at best. Online training can help you cut down on travel and paper costs and gives you real-time visibility into training consumption and effectiveness. Invest in training today to increase your SSPD. The first-mover advantage will solidly lie with the early technology adopters. 

 

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Paper-based retail store audits are inefficient

Store Audits: The Story of Broken Mannequins and Missing Area Managers

Author: Poornima Mohandas

Time to read: 2 minutes

 

  • Are there broken mannequins in your window display?
  • Are your area managers doing store audits from the comfort of their homes? 
  • Were the issues discovered in the last store audit resolved? 

These are some things we commonly hear from our retail customers as they put pen to paper to run periodic store audits. 

 

What if you could allow your regional managers to conduct retail store audits on their smartphones using a dedicated operations app. Not only will this put information at their fingertips, but it will also ensure that broken mannequins discovered in the audit are resolved quickly without the endless back and forth of follow up, emails and phone calls. 

 

Let’s dive a little deeper into what advantages digital audits would give your organization:

 

1. Conduct Audits in 1/4th the Time

 

Designer eyewear retailer, Magrabi that retails brands like Chanel, Burberry, and Emporio Armani across the Middle East, used to do paper-based audits across their 160 stores. 

  • Audits used to take 4 days to complete and involved plenty of paperwork. 
  • For each audit, the area manager had to print out 10 pages with 170 questions. 
  • At head office, it took days to compile the papers to get a comprehensive view. 
  • Store-level issues such as a broken light bulb, a crack in the ceiling or stock replenishments were reported and fixed late.

 

Things are much faster once they decided to go digital. Using a dedicated operations app, the audits are completely paperless and take just one day to complete. It has also meant faster decision making and faster issue resolution. 

 

“I do my audit reports in 1/4th the time now,” says Mariz Zakhary, Operations Administrator at Magrabi. Mariz automated store audits using Wooqer saving time for herself and her area managers. She and her team resolve store-level issues much faster now thanks to real-time visibility and reporting.

 

2. Make Store Audits Convenient For Your Regional Managers

Your regional manager goes to the Koramangala store in Bangalore for an audit. But he cannot remember the open issues from last month or what corrective action he had suggested. And how can he? He is only human, he has 15 stores under him. 

With an operations app on his smartphone he can easily: 

  • See the previous month’s open issues
  • Look up the suggested corrective action
  • View the current status
  • Gather image evidence of issues that need to be escalated to head office in real time

 

Digital retail store audits

 

3. Make Your Audits Fraud Proof

It is impossible to track the daily activities of each one of your area and regional managers. How would you know if your regional manager in the East hasn’t been visiting many of the stores under him? Automation can help track the geographical coordinates of the auditor, while doing the store visit thus keeping your audits fraud proof. 

 

4. Faster Issue Resolution

Slow audits lead to slow issue resolution and ultimately poor customer experiences. A broken light bulb in your retail store is just not acceptable and needs to be fixed asap.  

Digital audits can give you:

  • Automated workflow to escalate issues to the relevant people
  • Automated reminders and notifications to ensure people complete their tasks
  • Visibility into all issues, time taken to resolve them, and much more

 

5. Comprehensive Reporting for Real-Time Visibility 

When your audits are paper based it is cumbersome and challenging to get a historical view of audit compliance and spot trends over time. But if all this information is recorded in a secure and dedicated app:

  • It is available to you today, tomorrow, and forever to slice and dice
  • You can present the reports and trends in the quarterly review 
  • Compare different stores and reward the best-performing ones

 

Digital audits are not just easier to do, they help you quickly resolve broken mannequins and take care of missing area managers promptly. They give you a real-time, quality barometer on all your stores and ultimately help you deliver consistent customer experiences.

 

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SOP for Quick Service Restaurant or QSR Chains

How to Improve the SOP Process in Your QSR Chain

Author: Poornima Mohandas

Time to read: 2 minutes

 

Recently, we were at the headquarters of a QSR or quick-service restaurant chain to discuss their operational processes and how we could help them drive efficiencies. After some discussions, the COO explained, “We have 12 different applications and all our restaurant operations be it SOPs, checklists, and audits are all digital.” Having lost the wind from our sails, the meeting quickly concluded. Nevertheless, we sought permission to visit one of their restaurants. 

The next day, we walked into one of their restaurants, not too far from our office. What we saw was pretty shocking, yet typical. The SOP was a bunch of posters and checklists stuck on the kitchen wall! The restaurant staff were busy with customers and delivery boys, paying little attention to the writing on the wall. This could very well be your situation. 

 

The price you pay:

  • Poor visibility of SOP or Standard Operating Procedure adherence
  • Inconsistent customer experiences

 

Here are some ways to improve the SOP process across your QSR chain:

 

Educate Your Staff on Your Standard Operating Procedure

Very often we see that QSRs don’t spend enough time to educate their restaurant staff on the importance of the SOP. This document incorporates every aspect that needs to be monitored to keep your restaurant customer ready.

It covers everything, right from:  

  • Is the restaurant’s glass front door smudge free
  • How should a customer be greeted 
  • How many slices of banana should be served along with a pancake. 

 

Tell your staff the story behind it. How was it conceived? Why it matters?  

Train and certify your staff on the SOP using an operations app that is secure and exclusive to your organization. Let your staff absorb it, ask questions, clarify doubts, and have discussions on it.

 

Make It Easy to Adopt

Digitalize the SOP. Roll out daily checklists and set cut off times so your staff fill it out on time everyday. Have them attach photographs of the open restaurant with a date and time stamp. This way, you can ensure your staff have actually opened the restaurant at the stipulated 10:30 am and are not taking you for a ride. Easily see how many stores fill up the daily opening checklist on time. Automatic reminders will follow up with stores that are late and ensure compliance.  

 

Enforce Adherence to the SOP

When the SOP is a paper-based, daily opening and closing checklist there is poor adherence and little tracking. How do you sit in head office and know what is happening in the stores? You don’t. If the SOP is digitalized, real-time reporting can give you a comprehensive and comparative view of adherence. When restaurants don’t open on time or have dirty floors repeatedly, escalate it to the regional manager who can visit the store and get to the bottom of the problem. As the tracking of operational processes becomes more rigorous, you can improve the number of stores that complete it and reduce the number of compliance issues that come up.

 

Act on Your SOP Data to Drive Cost Savings

SOP needn’t be a passive monitoring exercise. You can actually uncover actionable data and powerful insights. 

Let’s take the example of a restaurant. As per the standard guidelines, the restaurant staff is supposed to switch on the air conditioner at 9:30 am so that the restaurant is cool and ready for customers by 10 am when it opens. With historical SOP compliance data at your fingertips, you notice that in more than half of your restaurants, the staff switches on the air conditioner half an hour early at 9 am everyday. You can instruct your staff to stick to the standard 9:30 am and save on electricity bills. Do this for a month across your restaurant chain and you can see the savings quickly add up.  

 

In summary, educate your staff on why the Standard Operating Procedure matters, make it easy to adopt, monitor adherence through robust real-time reporting, and uncover actionable data to drive cost savings. The SOP is your holy grail. It is what keeps your restaurants customer ready. Don’t let it be just a poster on the wall. 

 

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Deliver consistent customer experience

5 Steps to Deliver Consistent Customer Experiences Across Your 500+ Stores

Author: Poornima Mohandas

Time to read: 3 minutes

 

Despite the economic slowdown, Indian retailers are eager to expand their footprint. And why not, after a smart uptick in sales during Diwali.  

A lot of the retail action is set to be in Tier II and Tier III cities in India. Lifestyle brand, Fabindia plans to add 10 new stores in eastern India. Japanese retailer, Miniso is looking at 800 stores by 2020. Sketchers plans to be in every Indian city with 500 stores. And at a macro level, McKinsey predicts over 300 international fashion brands will open stores in India in the next two years.

So how do you keep growing your footprint with quality in check? 

Here are 5 steps to effectively deliver a consistent customer experience across your 500+ stores:

 

1. Train, Certify, and Monitor Adherence to SOPs

Let’s do a quick exercise:

  • Do you know what time your store at Dibrugarh opens?
  • Is the signage of your Darjeeling store as per your brand guidelines?
  • Is your storefront in Dharwad free of street hawkers?

This is tough to monitor on a daily basis in real-time. You probably do it today with pen-and-paper methods, a maze of phone calls, and Whatsapp messages. This quickly becomes hard to track and offers little to no reports to track historical trends and problem areas. 

How about a more structured approach? 

Step 1: Educate your store staff on the importance of the SOP 

Step 2: Assess their knowledge on it. Certify them 

Step 3: Let them fill out the daily checklists on an easy-to-use, retail operations app

Step 4: Have automatic reminders for stores that miss filling it out on time 

Step 5: From the head office, you can easily monitor SOP compliance across your entire network.  

 

2. Conduct Effective Store Audits

How does your regional manager conduct store audits? Let’s take the case of Rahul, a regional manager at a men’s clothing retailer. He goes to the HSR store in Bangalore to conduct a store audit, but he cannot remember the open issues from the previous audit. Who can blame Rahul? He has 15 stores under him. He recorded his findings in his notebook but the all-important notebook has gone missing. Plus, Rahul has only been in his new role for two months so he has little to go by. Rahul has a clean slate for the HSR store audit, which is unfortunately not a good thing.  

Store audits help spot issues and ensure they get resolved promptly. Equip Rahul with a retail operations app so he can easily conduct audits on his smartphone. This will save him time and give him a historical perspective of how the HSR store has performed over time. For the head office, automation will help you get a bird’s eye view quickly. Easily consolidate audit reports from across your 500 stores and ensure all open issues are automatically tracked and followed up with till resolution. 

 

3. Ensure a Consistent Look and Feel for Your Stores

“It was never an easy task to roll out new campaigns to 500+ stores and check how the execution has fared,” says Priyesh Bhagat, the visual merchandising manager at Adidas, a customer of Wooqer. With multiple Visual Merchandising (VM) changes per year, including new season guidelines, festive changes, End of Season Sales (EoSS), and in-store product communication, VM implementation and tracking meant visits to top 50 stores. Stores in tier 3 and tier 4 cities were hard to cover; they sent in their pictures over email and Whatsapp. And yet, the whole effort took time to complete and significant follow up effort. So what did Adidas do?

They digitized their VM guidelines and implementation. As a result:

  • Store VM champs could easily access the guidelines on a mobile app, for easy reference during on-floor execution
  • Store VM champs could easily click and submit date and time-stamped, pictures for review through the app
  • Regional VM Managers got real-time access to the pictures 
  • Non-compliant store managers got automatic reminders to comply
  • The VM team saved on time and travel

Digitalization not only smoothes out the execution piece but also offers monitoring. The head office can easily track activities and progress to ensure that all stores have the latest collection and a consistent look and feel.  

 

4. Provide Structured Training for Your Store Staff

High attrition and frequent product launches make it hard to uniformly train all your store staff. Classroom training is expensive and often does not cover all stores. Plus your store staff have no material to refer back to. They quickly forget what was taught in the classroom. When 40% of customers say sales associates with deep product knowledge improve their shopping experience you have to invest in staff training heavily.  

  • Allow your store staff to consume training anytime, anywhere on any device.
  • Give them byte-sized, multimedia courses 
  • Do assessments to measure training effectiveness

Online training will not only help you save on travel costs but will also be more engaging, convenient, and effective. 

 

5. Conduct Periodic Customer Surveys

How do you hear from your customers now? Do you have to depend on a third-party agency to hear your customer’s voice? Use technology to smoothen out the customer feedback loop. QR code-enabled surveys make it convenient for customers to easily give you feedback on their smartphones. Don’t let qualitative feedback bog you down. Easily decipher it using survey analytics. Absorb the feedback, make changes, and keep your customers happy. 

These are five ways we have seen our customers use technology to deliver consistent customer experiences even as they grow their retail operations. We will discuss each of these in more detail in upcoming posts, so make sure you check this space for updates.

     

    Download Wooqer Retail Playbook

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    How to Maximize SSPD this festive season?

    Author: Poornima Mohandas

    Time to read: 2 minutes

    With customers ready to spend and retailers offering attractive discounts, this festive season has been a crucial time for all retail chains to make their numbers in a sluggish economy. From Maruti cars, Xiaomi smartphones, to Flipkart and Amazon, all retailers are counting on their September and October sales numbers.  

    So what are you doing this season to maximize your SSPD or sales per square foot? Here are some ideas.

     

    Get Your VM Spot On

    Visual Merchandising (VM) is directly proportional to sales. It is essential to ensure that all your stores have the festive purple collection out in the window display and on the store’s centre table for maximum visibility. The purple collection will draw customers into your store. Once in the door, half the battle is won. Now your store staff have to know the rich and interesting story behind the purple collection to convert walk-ins into customers. 
    Here are some things to keep in mind:

    • Collect image evidence of the window display and centre table from all your stores to ensure a consistent look and feel
    • Have a methodical follow-up process and a point person in charge to take care of any stores that haven’t complied
    • Resolve issues around stock availability promptly
    • Train and assess your store staff on the festive pitch

    Additional checks and balances to ensure a consistent customer experience:

    • Are all your lights functioning properly?
    • Is your festival signage and decoration in place?
    • Are your offers and discounts clearly visible to customers?
    • Are your store staff trained to handle heavy traffic?
    • Are all your check out counters manned during the high-traffic period?
    • Are the cleaning staff instructed to clean the floors and bathrooms more often?

     

    Pump up Your Employee Morale With Sales Contests

    Nothing works better than incentives to drive sales and salespeople. One of our customers, a large department store is running sales contests among its staff this season. The first salesperson to close Rs 5 lakhs of business wins an all-expenses-paid trip to Singapore. Run an interesting contest with an enticing prize and watch the stock fly off your shelves! In addition, have your sales managers give a pep talk to the store staff every morning before they start the day. Remember, your store staff’s confidence and morale is a reflection of your brand. 

     

    Invest in Staff Training

    There is no such thing as too much training. Allow your store staff to consume byte-sized training content as per their convenience on any device. Whether they are commuting on the bus or on the metro they should be able to learn the festive pitch on their smartphone. Assess them to ensure learning retention. Ensure your staff knows:

    • The pitch behind the new collection
    • The pricing
    • Details such as fabric, colours, care details etc. 
    • Festive offers and discounts 
    • Overview of the entire product line

    This way your store staff can easily answer all your customers’ questions. Today’s customers expect a premium experience when they take the trouble to step out of the comfort of their homes, drive through snarling traffic and come to your store. Well-trained employees with sound product knowledge are a must-have.

     

    Create Excitement in the Store

    When a person takes the trouble to come to your store, give them an experience they will remember. This Diwali, why not organize a treasure hunt in your store? If you are women’s ethnic wear brand, run a contest to spot the glass slipper in your store and win a free lehenga! If you are a toy retailer, come Christmas, you can get kids to spot a reindeer in your store. The first one to find it gets to take home the stuffed toy for free! Be sure to click pictures of the winners and post it on your brand’s official social media pages. Your brand could very well be trending on Instagram this festive season. What’s more, the excitement will ensure customers keep coming back to your store for more.

     

    Create a memorable experience for your customers this Diwali. Don’t just give away freebies, combine it with a premium, experiential shopping experience and see your customers return for more. Write to us with the ideas you are trying out this season to increase your sales per square foot.

       

      Retail Super Hero Ebook

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      How to Ensure a Consistent Customer Experience Across Your Restaurant Outlets

      Author: Poornima Mohandas

      Time to read: 5 minutes

      What is the secret sauce for a successful fast food chain? Quick, predictable, and consistent food and service delivery each time, every time.

       

      Fast food chains with a large and growing footprint have to get their restaurant operations spot on. Let’s take a look at how a leading global quick service restaurant chain partnered with Wooqer to ensure consistent customer experience across all its Middle East outlets.

       

      Digitize Audits to Improve Service Delivery

      Traditionally, restaurant audits were conducted using paper checklists with findings being shared through disparate channels like email and Whatsapp with little to no reporting and no issue resolution. With Wooqer the customer was able to:

      • Create and share audit checklists to all outlets via the mobile app
      • Track, escalate, and resolve issues in real-time 
      • Increase the frequency of audits from weekly to daily 
      • Analyze comprehensive store-level reporting 
      • Easily compare different outlets to ensure consistency of service delivery

       

      Ensure Smooth Product Launches

      Fast food outlets struggle to launch products across their outlets in a simultaneous manner. While some outlets don’t have the recipe to the new item others are not trained to talk about the new dish. With Wooqer the customer can launch new products across outlets simultaneously, ensure staff readiness and brand consistency. Here’s how:

      • Restaurant managers get launch checklists to fill out on their mobile phone.
      • Critical issues are escalated and tackled on the spot through a workflow.
      • Marketing teams communicate how to display promotional material 
      • Staff are trained on how to position the new item

      And all of this through a secure private network that connects you to your outlets. 

       

      Improve Sales With Leaderboards and Contests

      How do you improve sales and let your employees have fun with it? Our customer did just that using Wooqer. They set up a sales contest to promote a particular menu item through suggestive selling and fed the daily sales numbers into a digital leaderboard. By the end of the month it became a win-win for all:

      • The sales of the menu item went up.
      • The restaurant staff were motivated. 
      • The fast food chain laughed all the way to the bank. 

       

      Faster Customer Surveys

      Paper-based customer surveys leads to poor analysis and little follow up action. With Wooqer the franchise owner created and launched customer surveys lightning fast. Restaurant managers collected customer feedback on their smartphones. Once the survey responses were in, the franchise owner got comprehensive drillable reports with detailed survey analytics to help him decipher the customer psyche. Replacing the pen and paper method made for faster turnaround time and quick responses to customer feedback.

       

      Consistent service delivery is a make or break for large quick service restaurants. Working with a partner like Wooqer to automate restaurant operations can help you ensure customers get the same experience each time, every time.

       

      For more information, visit QSR solutions page. 

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      Digitizing and Optimizing bank’s back-end operations

      Large-scale and rapid process automation is becoming a reality for many banks, as they enhance many of their customer-facing, front-end operations with digital solutions. Online banking offers customers convenience, but with mobile payments, the need for cash is slowly eliminating.

       

      You might agree that still, too many processes within banks rely on paper and people. Their back offices have employees sifting through customer requests. This manual processing is slow and costly and can lead to errors and inconsistency. IT technologies offer solutions that can sidestep added expenses and errors in back-end office procedures.

       

      Simplifying the bank’s  IT architecture, they can have smaller units run value-added tasks. This includes complicated processes, such as deal origination, and several other tasks that need human intervention, such as financial reviews.

       

      These IT-enabling operations can mean both automating processes (digitizing workflows, automating decision-making, digitizing customer requests) and using IT solutions to manage continuing operations that have to be handled by a human (using software for resource planning).

       

      While the scenario sounds promising, it is easier said than done. There are four critical hurdles in the path toward digitization for banks.

       

      Banks have never considered looking at their processes this way

      Launching new products and enabling growth have been the top priorities for banks until now. Which means banking institutions have been adding new layers of product features and procedural requirements to their infrastructure. This lack of rigor has led us to highly complex business processes that are now hard to automate. 

       

      Complex IT infrastructure

      Mergers and acquisitions, regulatory changes, and product launches have left banks with a complex IT environment. Redesigning systems now can take several years and a huge investment. Therefore, now banks must invest substantially and run the risk of lagging should the solution take too long to implement, and the market moves on.

       

      Black boxes in IT

      Typically, IT departments in banks all function in black boxes, and everyone fails to address the critical business priorities. IT solution designers and architects are more inclined to use the technology they are familiar with (meaning, it is legacy). Or, on the other end, they might be inclined to use the most exciting IT solutions, while IT vendors and system integrators get nothing in return for reducing the complexity of the integration or the effort it requires.

       

      Lack of internal capabilities

      Banks often lack the skills to introduce more automated processes. IT departments have been trained to use waterfall models of software development for big projects. These models are appropriate for developing and maintaining the traditional mainframe systems which banks use for their core systems, but they are not ideally suitable to automate business processes rapidly.

       

      The advancing state of technology and the fierce competition between banks require they have back-end operations with lower costs.

       

      Principles to automate banking operations

       

      The following three principles can function as a guide path for banks wanting to leverage automation more than they do now:

       

      Consider business priorities

      There is no point in automating inefficiencies or unnecessary product features embedded in legacy software. Banks should first define the best processes to form the customer’s, business’, and implementation risk point-of-view. Then, they should take a lean approach to process design to reduce what needs to be automated, in turn bringing down the cost, time, and risk of automation. Optimizing the end-to-end functions will require the participation of all teams, including operations, IT, business experts, project governance, and so on. 

       

      Use multiple approaches and integrations

      Evaluating each solution’s time to market, continuing complexity, etc. can enable banks to automate a majority of their manual interventions without rewriting or replacing legacy architectural building blocks. Banks are now creating workflow systems by overlaying business process management tools to connect separate legacy systems that eliminate manual data entry and related anomalies across end-to-end processes. 

       

      Prepare the IT shop for agile development

      For rapid development cycles and using off-the-shelf solutions successfully, IT employees should build skills beyond their traditional capabilities. Specifically, they should train internal resources or hire outside experts who can analyze the software market and apply the right solutions, besides developing systems in-house. The IT department should also be able to run iterative or agile development projects and work seamlessly with business and operations counterparts.

       

      IT and operations teams might get bogged down by the thoughts of integrating all end-to-end and back-office processes. But, it helps you to know that automation only happens gradually and start with simple steps. 

       

      Operations and business teams within the bank always push for automation whenever and wherever it can happen. This makes the IT team spread to all parts of the business, making the efforts too thin on the vital core areas. 

       

      You can start your automation journey with a tool such as Wooqer. Wooer is a cloud-based DIY tool which can be seamlessly integrated across your operations and helps teams manage functions better, collaborate on ideas, and implement solutions. 

      Learn more about Wooqer for banking.

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      10 Effective Retail Communication Metrics

      The competition in the retail space is getting more and more fierce in the digital era. It is critical now that retailers have full visibility of their operations, the ability to take mature, real-time decisions, a data-driven strategy for maximizing sales, and communication channels across distributors, partners, and with internal staff.

       

      The last part of that puzzle is often overlooked, but one of the most essential part of running a retail business. It is key to measure the efficiency of internal communication and optimize it so you can develop ways to collaborate on issues that plague your business.

       

      Retail employees such as sales associates, floor managers, and corporate staff can directly and positively impact sales and customer retention when they have the right communication channels set up internally.

       

      Effective communication is necessary to have employees aligned with the business’ goals and practices. Gaps in interaction can lead to inefficiencies and shortcomings in meeting business objectives.

       

      Since communication is critical for retailers, let’s delve deeper into the metrics retail businesses can track to maximize internal communication and increase conversion.

       

      Performance and productivity

      By making knowledge more accessible to the right teams at the right time, you can increase the productivity of employees. By making data and information more reachable, you can eliminate scenarios where staff members spend time enquiring about the inventory or hunting for any other information. With an internal communications app, you can centralize data and change its access controls for various departments.

       

      Customer satisfaction

      When retail employees are able to interact with their teams and cross-department, they can deliver a better, seamless customer experience. By highlighting customer data and stories in your internal communications solution, you can drive personalized interactions at every step of the buyer journey.

       

      Employee retention

      Internal communication can instill a feeling of community and togetherness in employees. Moreover, they feel in control of their tasks when information is available at hand. It also increases their self-dependency and eliminates any feeling of superiority that prevails when information is only available to the more experienced staff. Periodic surveys and feedbacks make it easy to capture and relay efficiency and performance-related data throughout the organization.

       

      Team collaboration

      Effective collaboration is proof that you are right on your track with internal communication. Collaboration is a key strategy when it comes to achieving business goals in the retail industry. Maximize cooperation and encourage collaboration through a communications app.

       

      Transparency

      Stakeholders and key executives get transparent, top-down visibility of the organization, which helps them in spotting patterns of inefficiencies and fix them. Through an internal communication solution, both Headquarter associates and store associates can stay on the same page and access a single source of truth through the centralized app.

       

      Periodic communication

      When talking about in-store communication, consistently define the timings when the weekly bulletin or monthly newsletter goes out. Important information can be relayed across your store on a periodic basis, thus improving internal communication and providing a pathway to broadcast critical information about policies, discounts, or strategies.

       

      Employee engagement

      When you have the right communications infrastructure set up, employees will generally be happier and satisfied with their jobs. An engaged employee will give their best to your business, and this commitment will help you grow your retail business faster.

       

      Views and open rates

      When you send out business-critical information, be able to see whether or not it reached all employees. Moreover, a communications solution can give you insights into which employees read that information and responded to it, if necessary.

       

      Scheduling

      An internal communications app can also help you view employee schedules and see where the conflict. When employees work different shifts at various locations, it helps to reduce scheduling issues through effective internal interaction.

       

      Feedback and incentives

      With a communications app, managers can give actionable feedback to employees and recognize those who have been the most active in pursuing the organization’s goals. Incentivizing improved performance and results through an internal communication app can encourage all employees to up their ante and get them positively motivated to work with better focus toward the enterprise’s goals.

       

      Effective communication stands at the core of any retail business. At Wooqer, we understand that. Our on-cloud, DIY platform helps retailers streamline communication across their locations and the business hierarchy.

       

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      wooqer ipl

      Van Heusen Ingenious Employee IPL on Wooqer

      The brand having a predominantly male customer base, couldn’t stay unaffected by the cricket craze prevalent across the nation every cricket season. Since IPL started in 2008, it meant lower walk-ins, lower sales and demotivated staff.

       

      Ingenious Idea from Learning Manager

      The Learning Manager, enabled with Wooqer, responded with the Van Heusen Premier League (VPL), a contest designed to convert this adverse situation into an opportunity.
      Leveraging multiple facets of the Wooqer platform, the team started with an objective and went on to doing a great launch, disciplined communication and continuous evolution.

       

      Idea to Execution with Wooqer

      The contest was kick-started with a video announcement and a news headline on Wooqer to ensure visibility for the entire network. Each day 4 teams played against each other for the highest target achievement and also got points, or runs for crossing certain benchmarks.In true cricket spirit, there was a man of the match each day and a regional song was dedicated to the winning team and shared with all teams for playing in-store.
       
      A 10% increase in Average Basket size for the period, and the achievement of the highest basket size in nearly 27 months, was the single biggest revenue impact.The level of engagement and involvement of the entire front line was beyond anything that the Brand had seen in the past with every single employee working towards making his/her team win. Regional Managers covered up for missing sales staff at stores to help their teams achieve targets.
       

      People did not take offs in order to not miss a match. Stories of every single success were proudly shared by all and encouraged by peers from other regions leading to bonds getting built. Stores stretched the extra mile with whatever they could do to contribute to the Region’s success. Stories of heroic efforts were created every single day. Attrition rate at stores fell by 50% over the 2 months that the initiative lasted with a lot more people opting to stay back despite all other factors remaining constant.

      This is the power of a timely and engaged execution!

       

      The Wooqer Advantage

      With the platform already established, there were no cost/resource decisions or internal / external dependencies in time of need. When need arose, execution took just a few hours. The Wooqer Analytics engine auto aggregated reports, minimizing effort needed to complete the exercise.

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      How AI is transforming the Retail Segment in India

      AI and ML are taking over retail. The technologies are shaping how retail will look by the end of the next decade. Retail store automation is already a buzzword ready to become reality. The entire product and service cycles in retail stores are getting streamlined and automated with the help of AI and ML. AI-backed products and solutions are helping offline retailers in India to digitize with artificial intelligence and machine learning. Let’s see how.

       

      How AI and ML are Changing the Indian Retail Landscape

      Improving customer experience offline and online is the number one priority for retail businesses in this digital day and age. Making personalized recommendations online and facilitating better customer experience is undoubtedly easier through an online store. However, offline retail stores lack this opportunity. That’s exactly where AI and ML are filling the gap.

       

      Smart Warehouses

      Physical forms of AI are now expanding. From chatbots, we are moving toward robots in warehouses. Warehouses could use robots that collaborate with each other through visual recognition and carry out picking and packing of products. Up your capabilities with robots in warehouses.

       

      Inventory Management

      There is a lot in your inventory that can be automated. Consider the annual maintenance of contracts. As a retail store, you need to track contracts when they near completion and revise them. Reconcile cash and credit cards and make life easier for your accounts team. Manage consumable ordering efficiently with an AI and ML-backed tool. Minimize shortage of inventory and allow stores at various locations to update stocks in a portal through a mobile app.

       

      Track Competitors

      Your marketing team should always be on their toes tracking the activities of your competitors. This will not only help you collect ideas for your growth but will keep your success or loopholes in perspective. Do this with an AI backed solution.

       

      Manage New Store Openings

      AI and ML-backed solutions can help create a simplified environment and policies to facilitate new store openings. Mobility can play a vital role in this case as most of the reporting happens on-field. Without a mobile-first AI-backed solution, retailers can miss out on a lot.

       

      Analytics and Trends

      Cover multiple periods to track trends and spot places and situations that bring in the most revenue. Analyze customer behavior by consolidating data and executing Big Data disciplines on it. Learning more about the customer and tailoring services to their needs can be the ultimate game-changer for your retail business.

       

      Customer Grievances

      Give the customer an interactive space they can use to give feedback for your services. Not just that, businesses today need to excel in customer services and treat customer right. Encourage customers to review and rate your business through a conversation AI-backed chatbot. It is vital to touch all platforms and make a presence across channels with your chatbot so that your customers can use the one they feel most comfortable with- to talk to your business.

       

      Employee Satisfaction

      When repetitive tasks are automated, employees can focus on high-value jobs that yield actual results for the business and improve employee satisfaction. Allow your employees to work on what they do best and automate monotonous tasks to improve speed and accuracy and employee productivity.

       

      Employee Onboarding

      An AI-powered solution can help retailers streamline the employee onboarding process. Collect employee data, identity documents, schedule meetings, notify employees and the relevant department, prepare for orientation, carry out specific training, clarify future plans, go over safety procedures, and so on. An Ai and ML powered solution for retailers can be the best best for Indian retailers.
       

      India is still yet to completely embrace the ‘online’ of shopping. Therefore, there is a greater need for offline stores to level up and gain customers today in this part of the world. Create specialized offers for your loyal customers, organize social media contests, leverage creative ads, use smart shelves, and introduce intelligence in all your key operations with artificial intelligence and machine learning. This is a great time for retailers to innovate on the online and offline front. Leverage a retail automation solution to improve customer and employee engagement, analyze data and make more revenue and profit.

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