With the global situation at hand, many retailers are being forced to find innovative solutions to unique issues they may have never experienced. From learning to manage a fully remote workforce and handling customer concerns to adjusting to fluctuations in the supply chain, businesses must find ways to adapt.
With the emergence of technology over the years, businesses have more options to rely on during this time to help operations run smoothly. Learning which technology is the best option may be one of the biggest challenges of adapting to new solutions. Still, many businesses can find great value in utilizing technology to its full extent at this time.
Here are three ways that technology is benefiting retailers during the current global situation.
Connecting with Remote Employees
With several businesses opting to go fully remote for the time being, managers have to think more creatively to solve the issues that come with this shift in the work environment. For some organizations, this may require more procedures, technology, and guidelines to be put into place. These steps are essential to keep your business functioning at full productivity.
While ensuring that projects are completed by set deadlines, and meeting customer demands are of high importance, it’s equally as crucial that employees feel they are being supported as much as possible during this transition. Using the right tools can help to keep all employees communicating effectively and preserve the culture of the company.
The proper technology can help increase employee engagement and workforce productivity by ensuring that your organization has a central access hub for retrieving any information or managing communications as needed. Additionally, reliable video conferencing and messaging tools are necessary for staying in touch with employees and checking in on both their work performance and mental wellbeing.
During this time, companies should consider being, to a certain extent, overly communicative, but also remember the importance of informal dialogue as well. It’s easy for employees to feel overwhelmed or anxious from this transition, so regular check-ups can help keep morale in check. Be patient as your team deals with new challenges.
Maintaining Customer Engagement
Though there may be fewer consumers shopping in brick-and-mortar stores right now, consumers are turning to online retailers to fulfill their needs. For some companies, this could be a new and unfamiliar way of conducting business that could prove to be challenging.
Businesses that are using clienteling technology can better connect their store associates (many of whom are now working from home) to online customers. With this system in place, customers submit requests to their local store associates via live chat, e-mail, SMS, and associate storefronts. Associates continue to serve and sell to online customers, answering questions and addressing their needs via these channels. This increases the number of incoming online leads for retailers, which in turn increases demand. Associates are also able to create and send personalized communications to online shoppers, helping to ensure a faster turnaround time on sales for retailers. Furthermore, customers can also request virtual appointments with associates, either online or over the phone.
Having technology of this caliber at hand can help retailers find some relief during this time and help them meet increasing demands and solve any issues consumers may be facing.
Managing Supply Chain Fluctuations
We’ve seen many changes in the supply chain due to halts in production and international border closings. This has caused a variety of issues for businesses in varying sectors, such as production slowdowns, a reduction in workforce, increases in demand, and international trade barriers.
Technology such as inventory management software and warehouse automation tools could prove to be extremely valuable during this period. Knowing what the forecasted demands are projected to look like, and if you’ll be able to garner enough supply to meet those demands, is critical at this moment. This technology has the potential of pointing retailers in the right direction to create a well-rounded strategy.
These technologies can also help warehouses and manufacturers stay afloat with a reduced workforce. It’s almost impossible to plan for something like this but having the proper frameworks and technology in place can help.
No matter what technology you chose to rely on during this time, it’s important to work as a team and unify your resources to adapt and prosper through the future.