The holidays are here, and the retail industry is expected to experience an especially busy season this year. With the added sales traffic, many retailers amp up their inventory and bring on a team of seasonal hires to assist with the abundance of activity. While that’s an important piece of the puzzle, it’s not the only way to maximize efficiencies – investing in the right technology can offer an incredible opportunity to retailers, especially during the holiday season. In fact, not doing so could actually be detrimental to a retailer’s bottom line. According to a Brightpearl survey, neglecting appropriate technology investments could cost retailers more than $300,000 this season.
The study found that 58% of retailers and wholesalers currently invest in technology to manage sales spikes – and only 35% said they are ‘very likely’ to adopt a new technology that would help to streamline processes. Rather, many retailers choose to invest in staffing and inventory during peak seasons over technology. But this can be a costly solution. Retailers hire an average of 98 full-time seasonal staff members to manage busy shopping periods. At an average minimum wage of $7.98 at 40 hours per week for the 10-week holiday season, Brightpearl found retailers could end spending an average total of $312,816 in seasonal staff wages alone – that doesn’t include taxes, training efforts, or costs incurred from mistakes by inexperienced employees. Increasing inventory levels can also be costly, especially if that inventory goes unsold, taking up valuable storage space.
Productivity is imperative during the holidays. Retailers can use automation technology to increase employee productivity and free up valuable time, enabling them to focus on more important tasks. According to Brightpearl, retail automation technology helps retailers save the equivalent of 57.5 days a year by eliminating time spent on repetitive administrative tasks. Not to mention, the use of technology reduces the chance of error by up to 65% – fewer errors make for happier customers and an overall better shopping experience!
Take mobile point-of-sale systems, for example. Mobile POS gives employees the power to process payments anywhere in the store, turning cashiers into sales consultants who can provide excellent customer service with a quick and easy checkout process. At peak times, retailers can add a new checkout instantly with the click of a mobile device. Mobile POS greatly speeds up transaction times that would not be possible with staff members alone. Most mobile POS systems can also work in conjunction with a store’s inventory system, giving employees access to an accurate count of what’s in stock right at their fingertips.
This isn’t to say a strong workforce isn’t necessary – shoppers still expect to have an informed, knowledgeable sales associate available when they want it. But armed with the right technology, your sales team can better serve and support the customer. Customers have access to all kinds of information right at their fingertips. Your associates need access to that same information to offer a positive customer experience. It doesn’t matter how many employees you have if none of them have the right tools to successfully do their jobs.
Hiring temporary staff is a short-term solution. It’s time to think bigger picture. Investing in the right technology solutions won’t just assist in your holiday efforts, it’s the gift that will keep on giving all year long. For more information on Worldlink’s expertise in the retail sector, click here or reach out to us directly. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.
This article is part of our ongoing coverage of the 2017 holiday shopping season. For more information, connect with us on Facebook!