What is retail automation?
Simply put, Retail Automation involves every step of your retail business that can and would benefit from being streamlined and automated using modern technology. In other words, it is the use of technology to run as much of your business as possible, with as little human intervention as possible.
Examples of retail automation
Human resources human labor force is still an essential part of any retail business. Managing a large labor force can be challenging and expensive. Thanks to modern technology, most menial tasks that would otherwise take time away from more essential facets of Human Resources can now be streamlined via automation. Such duties include invoices, work schedules, and payrolls.
A retail business cannot be successful without a focus on customer satisfaction. In any retail business, communicating effectively with customers, and taking the necessary means to deal with any complaints and problems they may have, is paramount. Examples of how automation can improve customer service processes include regular automated updates of a customer’s order and customer service bots programmed to answer the most frequently asked questions. Call center service prompts that are designed to pair customers with the best possible customer service representative capable of taking care of the specific issue they may be facing at the time.
Automation can allow retailers to analyze shoppers’ buying habits and plan the layout of their stores accordingly. For example, suppose a lot of people are buying bread and meat together. In that case, placing the various selections of bread near the deli aisle will make the shopping experience of so many people more convenient.
Without automation, retail store workers must take on the responsibility of inventory tracking and management. This can lead to human error, causing supply shortages and other issues. Automation can help mitigate such errors, making the inventory management process more efficient, streamlined, and cost-effective.
How does automation benefit a retail business?
In today’s economy, automation is necessary for any retail business, and there are plenty of advantages in doing so. These advantages include:
Automation immediately reduces the strain of human capital that retail businesses have traditionally suffered. Doing so saves the business money, not only because you no longer need to pay large labor forces but also because machines can perform the jobs of multiple people faster and more efficiently than ever before.
Reducing margins of error
Machines do not just do the same job humans can; they do it better. Brands looking to scale upward usually find themselves heavily reliant on data management across several channels; they must manage a growing labor force, increasing cash flow, and partnerships with more producers and other businesses. It can be incredibly difficult for a human to manage all this information accurately on a day-to-day basis. On the other hand, a computerized data system can compile such data and even use it to make reasonable predictions about the business’s future and growth trajectory.
Safeguarding against fraud
As retail businesses scale up in size and scope, fraud becomes a greater possibility. Examples of fraud include credit card scams, fake money scams, product exchange scams, discount coupon scams, food stamp scams, etc.
Automation and modern technology can help protect a business against such fraud. For example, systems can be put in place to detect fake money with far better accuracy than a human is capable of. An automated detection system for online retail can even track known scammers’ IP addresses and credit card numbers, preventing them from making future purchases.
Retailers can even rank orders based on risk assessment, considering various factors such as where the order is coming from, the value of the order, etc. With this data, they can potentially detect attempted fraud and stop it before it can be carried out.
The future of automation
Automation is far from a new concept, but it takes on a new form thanks to modern technology. There are many recent examples of how retail businesses are taking advantage of such technology, from artificial intelligence to virtual reality and augmented reality.
One such example is IKEA. Ikea’s app lets you use AR to simulate a 3D model of any piece of furniture they sell. You can then use your phone to see how the model fits into any room in your room. This completely automates the customer experience of visiting a retail store and trying out a piece of furniture in person before you buy it.
As technology continues to evolve faster and faster every year and the needs and demands of the consumer market shift, it is impossible to say just how the retail industry will look shortly. The Covid-19 pandemic certainly threw a wrench in things, but it is still fascinating to think about where technology will go from here as we return to a semblance of normalcy.About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud platform where their QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools are hosted in an efficient SSO environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.