Most Common Retail Challenges In A Rapidly Shifting Landscape

Technology | 5 minutes to read

05th Apr, 2022

Retail has been caught in a domino effect of labour shortages, supply chain challenges, and higher-than-ever customer demands, all while recovering from a worldwide epidemic. Transcendent retail solutions can help them cross all these challenges

Snapshot 

    • It is critical for the future of retail enterprises to be equipped with the right technology to expedite interactions

    • They need to foster more effective employee/ employer communication and develop evolving relationships with the customers

    The devastation caused by Covid 19 exacerbated the already precarious state of the retail industry. Retailers are now faced with new challenges as they prepare to open their doors to highly demanding customers. Moving ahead, retail-based businesses will need to implement more creative tactics and retail solutions to beat back future challenges.

    Supply Chain Gnarls

    In 2022, competition is fiercer than ever, as retail businesses ramp up their efforts for adapting to shifting patterns in their supply chain operations. End-to-end supply chain digitisation is vital for retailers to stay ahead of the competition and provide value to their customers. The integration of artificial intelligence in supply chain management will help in minimising costs through some factors like detailed inventory management and warehouse automation. Better Inventory management will eliminate the likelihood of overstocking, inadequate inventory, and unexpected stock-outs. Intelligent Algorithms can instantly assess data, predict recommendations on demand and supply and identify new customer behaviours.

    Warehouse automation is another fundamental aspect of a supply chain. Automated warehouses can ensure a quick retrieval from the stock depot to reach the potential customer. Artificial intelligence will simplify complex procedures, speed up work and instantly solve many warehouse problems.

    In days to come data processing will be critical in supply chain management. The performance of suppliers, lead times, and inventory availability will impact automation, speed, and agility. In addition to this, supply chain chaos is also a result of poor inventory visibility. Few things aggravate customers more than purchasing an item only to learn it is out of stock. In this scenario, retailers may find it very difficult to repair the relationship with the customer. They might feel when the retailer can’t even get the stock levels right, how can they expect the client to trust them with anything else. Inventory stacking may also be caused by error-prone inventory processes when sellers purchase more units than they need, to insulate themselves against stock-outs.

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    Disappointing User Experience

    In the recent retail landscape; personalised and pleasurable buying experiences provide the most spectacular results. With the consumer being the king, the brick-and-mortar establishments are expected to up the bar constantly. They are required by consumers to meet a higher standard of consistent service across both online and offline channels while having an enjoyable shopping experience. But what precisely constitutes an excellent retail experience? Each retailer will have a different answer based on the products, the type of store and customers that frequent the store. While user experience strategies can be tailored to suit the store type, the following practices can improve the user experience:

    • Offer a more immersive user experience by implementing augmented and virtual reality experiences like virtual fitting rooms.
    • Train the staff to connect with the buyers, transforming them from a “salesperson” to a consultant, or even an advisor
    • Eliminate friction points to offer a pleasant experience to the customer
    • Modern shopping environments emphasise the importance of omnichannel retail experiences, including online buy pick up in-store, curbside pick up, and in-store fulfilment.

    Dwindling Loyalty

    Having a wealth of online resources at their fingertips, today’s customers are far more discerning. With so many options, brand loyalty has dwindled. Instead, people seek the finest shopping experiences that enable them to shift between different labels while making online and in-store purchases. According to a McKinsey survey, 75% of customers have explored new products, shopping locations, and shopping techniques since the epidemic began.

    Getting to know customers based on prior purchases and interests can allow businesses to boost consumer loyalty. Retail analytics can extract these insights from large amounts of customer data and help retailers in creating personalised experiences and foster loyalty.

    Recruiting, Retaining, and Rewarding

    The retail sector has always suffered from enormous employee turnover. Keeping a retinue of long-term employees has been one of the most challenging problems for a business in this line. The store staff in the retail business are in direct contact with consumers and can influence purchasing decisions. Staff in the retail sector are required to have a wide range of abilities. They must be knowledgeable of the most recent items available in the shop, have excellent customer service skills, and understand how to market the products. As per a recent McKinsey Global Survey, nine out of ten executives believe their front-line workers are lacking in digital capabilities. Employers need to bridge these inadequacies with learning and development opportunities. The only possible solution to this is to provide easy training modules to the staff. Employers can no longer afford to train their employees using traditional methods and have to adapt to modes where the training can be imparted on any device, anywhere and at any given time. When hiring a staff member, an employer should not rely solely on hard retail skills and expertise, but instead look for applicants that have prior experience engaging with customers, managing finances, and being a team player.

    Finally, offering career growth and development that aligns with the aspirations of the new hires would go a long way towards retaining them.

    To address stressful issues that diminish the output of the employees at their workplace, employers should focus on the work environment and experience provided to employees. They need to revamp their outdated policies to introduce

    • Improved wages
    • More training opportunities
    • Regular salary reviews
    • Programs for Rewards and Recognition

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    Health and Well-being of the Staff

    Due to the crisis, more companies are looking beyond retail employee training and engagement as they become more involved with their team members’ overall health and well-being. The mental and emotional health of workers has been affected by various issues associated with this epidemic. Businesses at this juncture should include a centralised platform via which they can acquire essential information on their teams, give timely advice, and encourage employee well-being.

    Conclusion

    Many of the issues that retail companies, in particular, faced throughout this period have been caused by a lack of preparation. It is a given that omnichannel retailers have an advantage over the competition, and to avoid risk and disaster, practically all retail organisations will be using an online to offline operating plan of action to  maximise profitability offline.

    The problems listed above are not specific to the retail industry, and they are not insurmountable. To resolve these issues retailers need to realign their strategy that eliminates errors and drives positive business outcomes.

    Contact Us to see how can we leverage our broad range of retail solutions to boost your instore operations.

     

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