Process automation is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ element for organizations. Being unwilling to automate processes is leaving money on the table. While automation may seem like something based in manufacturing, retail companies are being forced to embrace automation completely.
Why do retail companies need automation?
Retail companies around the world have found themselves in a tough spot due to dwindling margins, intense increase in competition, rising labor wages, and the inability to pass on costs to the customer in an ultra-competitive market.
For these companies, automation is becoming a necessity to curtail costs while improving efficiency and bolstering profits.
While many organization automation efforts are held back by management inertia and lack of skills, companies like Amazon are making great strides with concepts such as Amazon Go retail outlets.
According to McKinsey, Amazon can expect a 5 to 10 per cent top-line improvement just from reduced wait lines, personalized promotions, optimized assortments. McKinsey also predicts bottom line benefits including as labor costs, improved monetization of insights, greater profits, and more.
If that doesn’t encourage you to automate your retail processes, take a look at some of the benefits that your organization could experience.
Effect of process automation on retail businesses
The overarching advantage to process automation is that it streamlines and simplifies chaotic retail operations. Here are some more benefits business can enjoy with automated processes.
- Efficient workflows
- Minimized costs
- Improved profit margins
- Automatic inventory updating
- Meticulous data collection and centralized data storage
- Sound data-driven business decisions with predictive analytics
- Efficient utilization of manpower
- Greater customer satisfaction
- Improved quality control and compliance
Now that you have a sense of the overall advantages of automation, take a look at how it can improve specific retail processes.
6 retail functions you can enhance with process automation
Every department of a retail business can benefit from process automation. From design to accounting, any process can be improved.
Described below are some specific retail functions that process automation can enhance.
Large amounts of data churned out by retail transactions can be effectively utilized with automation when rolling out promotional offers, new product launches, and minimizing churn rate. Automation provides real-time analytics that allows you to study consumer behavior to tailor your offerings so as to convert leads and retain customers. It also enables sales forecasting, which is crucial to optimizing inventory.
Demand and supply planning
Efficient demand and supply planning is critical to companies who want to get ahead in the fierce retail race. Automation helps you streamline data, standardize and format it effectively, run simulations, identify exceptions, and devise a strategy to meet customer demand.
Marketing planning and consumer behavior analysis
Data collection and in-depth analysis powered by automation can be a treasure trove for marketing departments. It enables quicker decision-making, which can be a valuable edge over competitors. Campaign management is made more efficient through data-driven budgeting, informed investment in channels, and complete clarity.
Companies can analyze consumer behavior closely to improve marketing efforts across channels and touchpoints and enhance the customer journey to ensure maximum retention.
Customer support management
In order to survive in today’s hyper-connected world, 24/7 customer support is a necessity. Process automation systems integrate with CRM systems to help businesses manage customer records with ease. Onboarding, subscriptions, and complaint resolutions can all be smoothly handled.
There are few things more frustrating to customers than long drawn-out returns processing. When returns are processed manually, they end up adding further costs to what is already a cost to the company. Without automation, returns become chaotic, time consuming, and prone to errors–mistakes you can’t afford with cutthroat competition.
Logistics and supply chain management
One of the critical processes of global retail companies is logistics and supply chain management. Transporting products from suppliers to consumers, maintaining inventory, and tracking shipments of materials are some of the many workflows that can be automated for greater efficiency. Collaboration with suppliers and distributors and communication with customers can be managed effortlessly with automation.
Aside from the departments mentioned above, process automation also enhances delivery tracking, invoicing, product launches, product categorization, ERP management, and more.
Efficient automation with Kissflow Process
Kissflow Process can help you automate your retail processes in as little as 15 minutes. With an intuitive, no-coding design and a drag-and-drop form builder, retail teams can use it with ease. Kissflow integrates easily with existing applications in use to provide valuable data on processes.
Real-time analytics empowers teams with greater visibility and insight. Cloud-based data storage and role-based access control keeps your data secure. Kissflow facilitates automated communication and easy collaboration to help retail processes function efficiently.
Sign up for a customized demo and take your retail business to the next level.