Merchant preparations for the upcoming holiday shopping season – the busiest period on the retail calendar – are now well and truly underway. Retailers and brands everywhere are tweaking and enhancing every part of their operations, focussing efforts on ensuring the right merchandise, an engaging and welcoming store and superior customer service. These preparations spark an excitement in most consumers as they witness storefronts and shop windows, signage and décor transform to reflect the special time of year. However, according to Ray Abramson, COO at operations SaaS provider MeazureUp, as exciting as it might be, the holiday shopping season can be equally daunting for store operators and managers charged with coordinating all of the tasks that require execution and optimizing their staff to the best possible effect.
“The upcoming holiday shopping season is going to push a lot of retailers a lot harder than in the past,” Abramson says. “Now that the COVID-related restrictions and protocols are being lifted, there’s an anticipated upsurge in physical store traffic as consumers everywhere release a pent-up demand for experiences. A current labour shortage is placing additional pressure on retailers and brands with respect to the number of customer-facing store employees that they might have on staff. During a normal shopping season, retailers are usually adding seasonal workers to help them get through the busiest period of the year. And this season, they’ll likely be leaning even heavier on seasonal employees who often don’t possess a full education or awareness of the operational requirements of the brand or the key pillars that they need to conduct themselves by to meet the standards of that store. In order to equip store employees with the information they need to perform their jobs to the greatest effect, and to make their jobs easier, retailers need to leverage the right technologies.”
Increased in-store efficiency
One of those technologies is MeazureUp’s DailyChex digital checklist solution for store managers and their staff. Available as an API solution, the digital checklist is easily integrated into retail technology stacks, benefitting retailers of any size. The solution allows store managers to automate routine tasks, capturing and recording their completion and quality, empowering them with a complete view into the operations of the store. And, because the digital tool also provides store staff with the information critical to understanding their roles and responsibilities, it enables them to execute faster with a lessened learning curve. In addition, the data that’s generated through the checklist solution is in real-time, arming store operators with vital insights to inform strategy and improve performance. It’s a digital solution that provides retailers with the ability to ensure much-needed consistency and efficiency. And, it’s one that Abramson says helps remove any uncertainty for store managers, allowing them to reallocate their focus and efforts.
“Our daily checklist tool allows store managers and staff to conduct assessments on a daily basis,” he asserts. “They all know exactly what they need to be doing, taking a lot of the guesswork out of the equation. Nobody likes ambiguity or vagueness when working in a frenetic store environment. With this tool, every member of the store staff can log in to find out exactly what they’re responsible for at the store each day. This type of accountability among employees not only ensures that their jobs are done properly and to the best quality possible, it also increases engagement among staff, raising their collective pride concerning the work they’re doing and the experience that they’re creating for the brand and customer.”
Supporting consistency across networks
In addition to supporting the efforts of store managers and their teams, MeazureUp’s digital checklist solution also equips regional and district managers with the means by which to ensure consistency across multiple store locations. MeazureUp’s AuditApp allows brands to track their insights and performance checks, streamlining their efforts and reducing the amount of manual recording required when doing their jobs. It’s a layer of the technology provider’s offering that Abramson says is proving invaluable to district and regional managers, and one that he believes can help transform the way retailers and brands execute store and performance audits going forward.
“When district managers visit their stores, they’re able to track everything digitally with our tool.,” he explains. “This means that they save a lot of time. Without AuditApp, they’d be required to sit down at the end of a day of auditing to manually develop all of these reports for each individual store and then try to consolidate the data in order to recognize inconsistencies across their networks. We make it incredibly easy for district managers to record, track and organize all of the data efficiently and in real-time. As soon as an audit is complete, everyone, including the stores, sees the data. Because of the short feedback loop involved and how quickly the information is shared, all stakeholders can better understand where the strengths and weaknesses of those stores are, how they’ve been trending on a category-by-category basis, supporting consistency across stores.”
Enabling data-driven decisions
Abramson goes on to explain that, in his estimation, the collection, tracking and correct dissemination of data is becoming crucial to the enhancement of retail store and network operations. However, he also recognizes that the use of the data that MeazureUp’s DailyChex generates has the potential to go far beyond supporting the performance of stores, providing insights that can be leveraged to inform decisions and achieve further growth for retailers and brands.
“It’s very difficult for any retailer or brand to grow without developing a plan to scale,” he says. “For any business that wants to grow and add locations, they want to be able to put data and information at everyone’s fingertips as quickly as possible. It tends to eliminate timelapses, gaps and blind-spots, which is sometimes the difference between success and failure. For the retailers not currently leveraging data, they really need to jump on that curve. And they need to do it earlier rather than later. The use of data often helps organizations transform their cultures. When there isn’t accountability and there’s no push for consistency, an inordinate amount of work is required to achieve the same results that technology- and data-enabled solutions can help retailers arrive at in a fraction of the time.”
As the 2021 holiday shopping season quickly approaches and retailers and brands everywhere look to enhance the service and experience that they offer, many are exploring digital tools as a way to achieve these improvements and upgrades. It’s a shift in thinking among the industry, one that’s being driven by consumer behaviour and the accelerated digitization of retail and the world around us, that’s yielding impressive results for some. And, according to Abramson, it’s a shift that MeazureUp will continue to support as the company maintains its commitment to helping retailers flourish and grow.
“Because the technology and solutions that we develop are not represented by one out-of-the-box example, our digital checklist tools are completely customizable, providing retailers with amazing flexibility to build their own solution. We’re extremely focused on ensuring that our clients are equipped with the digital tools that will help them instill greater organization, consistency and efficiency into the operations of their stores, whether they operate a single store or an enterprise of 1,000 locations. And, of course, as the holiday shopping season approaches, as we move away from the pandemic environment and closer to a post-pandemic world, we’re looking forward to continuing to help retailers achieve their goals and targets through optimized and streamlined operations.”
See it in action now by visiting MeazureUp’s website.