Tis the season to… automate retail.
When you think about industries with a great amount of processes that can be automated, maybe retail doesn’t sound like the sector that will have an overwhelming number of tasks that can be handed over to a machine, especially since during the holiday season human workers are more sought after than ever. This would however be the wrong impression, given that according to a recent Mckinsey & Company study, 54% of the work done in the retail industry can be automated.
This won’t happen overnight, but when we look into the nature of the tasks that can be accomplished by a robotic system, the list of pros gets longer, and retail employees are free to do more with their time, which is in such high demand right around this season. This is also a key moment to focus on delivering the best-in-class customer service available, as the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas also covers some of the most unpleasant interactions between customers and store associates due to the high volume of them and levels of stress everyone manages during this time.
So which tasks in retail can be automated, and what’s the impact of doing so?
- Data entry work: whether it’s store logs, sales books, tax data gathering or listing an inventory, one of the key downsides of having these tasks be completed by a human entails the possibility of human error. Typos and mistakes can occur more frequently when employees are tired and overworked, which is the entirety of the holiday system, so it’s much more efficient to hand over as many of these tasks as possible to machines that will copy data flawlessly and hundreds of times faster than any human can.
- Order returns: one of the most tedious parts of a customer buyer journey is when they have to return an item. Whether the purchase and return are made online or in person, there are systems that can flush out the noise and make this process agile and pain-free for both customers and associates.
- Credit reports: if this is the season for retail, then this is really the season to open a store credit card. But when retail employees work on commission and customers are rushing from store to store to get gifts for everyone on their lists, the process to run a credit report and open the store credit card needs to be as swift and efficient as possible. And, you guessed it, there’s an intelligent process automation solution for that.
- Customer service & handling customer complaints: as mentioned above, the joy and jolliness of the season sometimes doesn’t cover the incidents that take place between customers and store associates. When companies want to ensure that a bad encounter doesn’t lose them a customer for life, it’s crucial to have a good customer service call system that operates 24/7 and provides solutions as needed. It’s impossible to hire enough workers to handle the call volume during the holidays, so the best thing to do would be to automate this process by acquiring an alternate workforce – the virtual assistant.
All of these processes and many more can use a makeover from intelligent process automation. The retail industry is one of the most lucrative but also most overworked during the holiday season, and there are easy, ready-to-implement solutions to fight this. At Lagash we focus on enabling you to think and work in new ways through technology, and the best gift you can give your employees and customers for the holidays is a seamless shopping experience. Give us a call to see how we can make your retail experiences be nothing but nice.