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Cha-Ching! Retailers are Using Automation More Than Ever Before to Increase Sales.
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Retailers can take advantage of automation by using robots and artificial intelligence for inventory management, customer service, and personalizing promotions. This can increase efficiency, reduce labor costs, and improve the customer experience. Retailers can also use data analysis to understand consumer behavior better and make more informed business decisions. Let’s look at five ways intelligent retailers use automation to get ahead.
Automation allows retailers to process exceptions efficiently without requiring human intervention. Using this technique, they can focus more on their business growth than on labor-intensive tasks like data entry, which they can leave to their robots.
Using automation, retailers can integrate data from different systems and databases into one system, making it easier for them to access and manage data in a centralized location. After consolidating data from diverse systems into one place, retailers can combine the data with other information from other sources such as websites or physical sites, thus managing all information related to their brand in a single system. Moreover, with all information in a single system and without any duplication of data entry, there will be fewer chances of human error that might lead to more errors in the system itself.
Customer service is essential no matter what. You want to ensure that your customers feel welcome, listened to, valued, and cared for. One of the best ways to ensure that your customers are taken care of is by using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Using a CRM system, you can manage data relating to your clients, including their names, addresses, ages, contact information, and online information. With this information, you can make targeted marketing decisions based on their needs and wants and any history with your company. This saves time for the customer service and marketing teams, who gather this information manually
Reconciliation & Invoicing
Invoicing is always a frustrating process for customers and retailers alike. Retailers must constantly track all their purchases from different vendors to calculate the final amount due from their customers. This process takes a lot of time, but it is necessary to run an efficient business operation. Instead of an employee manually going through each invoice, they can use an automated solution that will pull relevant information to do the reconciliation process and provide this information to the accounting department to send out the invoice to the customer.
Replenishment is another pain point for Retailers and their customers because it takes up so much time on both sides trying to get shipments from vendors onto store shelves in good quality and on time. With an automated solution, you can easily set up alerts for each vendor, alerting when items need replenishing or expired items need removing from shelves, helping save both time and money. Ensuring shelves are filled with relevant products makes it easier for customers to make decisions quickly without wasting too much time looking around at different product options.
How do you get started?
If you believe automation can make a difference in the next 3-5 years, determine how it will fit into your processes. Gather information from each step of your business processes, from the front-end to the back-end systems. What are data fields populated? How much data is available? Can you automatically fill data fields from another system?
Once you have this information, you can determine if any business processes would benefit from automation. Don’t try to do too much upfront, as this will lead to analysis paralysis. Start with one strategy and get it up and running. Test the solution by putting in 10 or 20 percent of your normal workload, then measure the time it takes to run the process and compare it with a human doing the same work. Use these results to show management why automation can benefit your company.
When starting with robotic process automation, pick a single process with a high error rate or causes a lot of manual work. This will help you gain confidence that automation can work for your company.
You also want to look for opportunities where multiple steps can be automated. For example, instead of just focusing on picking orders from an ERP system, consider how inventory management works and see if there is an opportunity to automate some of those steps. Remember that every step you automate helps free humans up for higher-value tasks requiring more thought and creativity.
Every business has different needs regarding skills required for robotic process automation, so it all depends on what stage you are at in implementing this technology. If you are just getting started, then look for consultants who have experience with specific tools and work within your industry. It would help if you also had people who focus on the people side of automation - understanding how employees perform tasks now and how they will be affected by future industrialization changes. Be sure that whichever consultant you hire has plenty of experience building successful implementations because this technology isn’t easy to implement correctly.
January 23, 2023