One-stop-shop Software Solution: The Future of Retail Productivity & IT Infrastructure
“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.”
Anne M. Mulcahy, former CEO of Xerox
Customer experience is changing the world. We all have heard about Service design, Customer-centered solutions and Customer satisfaction. We consider it to be part of marketing only. But today we need to care not only about customers but employees also.
Its work ceases to be productive because of the persistent information searching, data reconciliation, etc. Employees lose interest in their work and no longer see prospects in it. Retail managers need to manage a lot of different apps, tools, platforms and software solutions. They lose their time to switch between all of this, to integrate and adapt basic data. And CEO loses data and time to make the right managerial decisions which help the business to grow. This creates new demands for IT infrastructure and applications architecture. Can a business automation platform manage this?
Why Employee Experience Matters
Following Statista, as of 2019, the retail industry accounted for 2.2 mln of employees. Each of these people needs professional growth and development. But is it reachable for sales managers, who switch between a lot of different apps, tools, platforms, and software solutions? He has to receive and analyze data from several sources at the same time. Since it's extremely hard to do, the switching procedure takes up most of the working time. It does not only negatively affect a manager's productivity but primarily arouses professional burnout. To prevent it, the company can use the one-stop-shop principle. It allows unifying a countless number of programs into one system, which automatically pulls up the needed data to the employee. The interface is easy to use, so all the processes become clear in a short period.
Business Models Become Outdated in 30 months. Before Digitalization They Could Last Successfully for 30 years
Retailers were already under pressure before the pandemic, challenging to adapt to an online world and facing decreasing margins and an army of competitors. The Covid-19 has accelerated some of these trends, with shifting to online shopping and an inventory overflow which may cut margins even more. All of these lead to a more efficient sales strategy and customer segmentation. We need to have field sales information at our fingertips to fill the market bit. How can IT solutions help with this issue?
We have talked about customer-centric solutions for the last couple of years. But what about employee-based solutions? A simple example shows the crucial importance of employee environment customization.
In the 1940th humanity have witnessed how jet aircraft was born. Along with technical innovations and speed rise death accidents among pilots have increased. 17 pilots died daily! Investigation showed that cabins have not been changed since 1926. But speed and mobility demand have. The problem was that reactive speed demands a perfect fit of equipment and cabin to the pilot biometric parameters. So, the cabin became more adjustable and the death level among the pilots decreased.
Retail managers are not fighter aircraft pilots. But they need to manage a lot of applications and software solutions to do their daily job. Differences in interfaces, data logic, and storage lead to delays and mess.
How Can Software Solutions Increase Operational Efficiency in Retail?
Integration is still a king. A lot of data needs to be integrated as well as solutions that generate it. One of our clients experienced problems with new employees onboarding - customers’ contact center software demanded 1 month of studying at least. The onboarding period for new employees was reduced by 70%. We have started contact center transformation as the first step in the transition from monolith legacy to new custom ERP modules. 54 store management and 3d party integration for 27 million customers became much easier. The solution covers 10M+ orders per day processing for customer service & order management and gives no pain to its product owners and operators.
IT Infrastructure & Architecture changes
Business leans on IT to deliver the best customer experience and offer. New levels of Agility secured by micro-services, cloud computing, business intelligence (BI) and inalienability of social media led us to the era of Digital Services. These services occur in digital-only space, these business models are global, they use a combination of digital services and features - Hybrid infrastructures appear. And demands for IT infrastructure are higher than ever. The customer experience at every stage and with all applications is pretty important, expectations are high. Here IT orchestration tools are deadly needed.
Hybrid infrastructure services are transforming into new technology-as-a-service offerings and user-centric based products and services. So, a customer-oriented approach changes the IT landscape literally.
Digital transformation framework in retail
How digital transformation works in Retail? Like any other industry, digital transformation is a path. When we start to work with a client I ask 3 simple questions to each team member. We are looking for answers together, this helps to create our backlog.
What systems and solutions are used for alien functions, or in an unnatural way
Where business loses speed and the possibility to make the right decisions
Where additional employees needed to be involved
The result is the “AS IS” map. How it works now, we don’t judge anyone, it is only about putting things on the map. Then we deliver the ”TO BEE” plan - Digital Transformation strategy. In each project, we use an Agile approach to be flexible and up-to-date.
Digital transformation is not about innovations themselves, it’s about constant changes to fit market and customers' expectations.
Different systems are used for alien functions in an unnatural way
Business loses speed and possibility to make the right decisions
Additional employees needed to be involved
Discovering AS IS and Creation how it is needed TO BEE
Digital transformation gains for retail
91% of customers are ready to buy from those brands that recall their habits and offer customized propositions and recommendations
80% of customers value customer experience as well as product & service itself (big data integration & gateway)
20% + to competitors race for those who have digitized distribution & warehouse management
Jobs to be done - areas for improvement & retail startup ideas
Looking for a retail digital transformation checklist? We have one! These six areas are needed to improve and they are perfect starting points. If you're mining ideas for retail or e-commerce startups, this could be an inspiration also.
If you are looking for a platform to make a joined interface and digital ecosystem for retail, try to look closer to the fast-code platform.