Expert opinion on improving retail store operations management covering SOP implementation, significance of middle-level management, and digitisation.
— Nikhil Agarwal
PUNE, MAHARASHTRA, INDIA, April 18, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — Only a couple of decades back, managing a retail store and its operations was relatively a much easier job in comparison to today’s multi-faceted retail environment. Retailers had to deal with very limited inventory. The number of brands was limited. The markets used to be confined to smaller areas. Purchase decisions and options were limited and easier for customers. The demand was predictable with higher certainty. Only a handful of suppliers were in the play. But with time, many transformations took place in the retail landscape. With a surge in population and urbanisation, markets became larger in size. Increased demand led to the entry of more new businesses. This brought more competition and innovation. Customers started to have more options. Industrial and technological developments made new ways of doing business possible. Easing trading and economic framework made it easier for foreign companies to explore retail markets in other countries. Ecommerce stirred up the retail sector further. All these factors combined have complicated the management of retail store operations because now the business functions in a wide and complex environment. Retail management – store operations has emerged as a serious form of business art and science.
Implementation of SOPs
With more than 10 years of experience in delivering retail business consulting services, the think tanks from YRC maintain that a majority of operational challenges related to retail store operations could be easily resolved simply by implementing retail store SOPs. And more than that SOP for retail business brings all retail operations within a planned and defined paradigm. Standard Operating Procedures secure that there is a known and established way for executing every operational activity. This ‘way’ constitutes defined procedures and standards of performance. From input to output, every requirement is predefined and aligned with the business objectives. With SOPs, retail stores can ensure that all their operations are carried out in such a way that the required output meets what the business needs or seeks to achieve. For example, customer grievance redressal is a routine and critical area of service. If a business enterprise does not define this process, employees will carry it as per their judgement and discretion. The outcome may or may not be in the best interests of the business. With SOPs, businesses are able to define how the process of customer complaint resolution needs to be executed.
A strong middle-level management
In retail management consulting, experts know that in retail stores, a strong middle-level management helps businesses better control their operational activities. The managers or team leaders who are in charge of the store operations exercise direct influence over the performance of the operations executives. They are also responsible for the smooth maintenance of the store operations. If this organisational stratum is weak or absent, the business owners or someone else from the senior positions will have to get involved in the routine operations. That is not an ideal practice. For example, if a store employee is not able to handle a customer grievance properly, the matter should be escalated to the store manager. But for that to happen, the position of store manager must exist and someone capable must be holding that position. In many small retail businesses, the owner usually remains present in the store. But it does not mean that owners should get involved in every routine business operation. That is not the role of a business owner. A store manager or a departmental/functional manager (depending upon the size and structure of the enterprise) must be there to oversee the store operations.
Adoption of automation and digitisation
The adoption of the best-fit automation and digitisation solutions is a must if retail businesses seek to become capable of improving their retail store operations management ( https://www.yourretailcoach.in/enter-india/ ). For example, by using barcode scanners, retailers can automate their billing process. It makes the checkout process shorter and quicker. Customer experience is elevated when the checkout process is simplified and shortened. Or by adding digital payment, the burden of cash handling and reconciliation could be reduced to a significant extent. Similar benefits apply to other business operations as well. Plus, digitisation and automation enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of store operations. It makes the execution of the operations less dependent on human intervention. With greater operational efficacy, retailer stores also enhance their ability to handle more business and customers.
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