In India, the retail industry, contributing 10% to the GDP and valued at USD 792 billion as of 2018 (CARE Ratings report), is one of the fastest growing industries. It is also expected to reach a valuation of USD 1400 billion by FY 2024. One of the major reasons why the retail industry has seen such huge growth in the last few years is because of the key investments made in collaboration enhancing technology.
Retail businesses are all about teamwork and collaboration. Without the entire team operating as one, it can become increasingly difficult to manage multiple stores and keep them running with the same standard as set by the retail brand. Thus, it is imperative for retail managers and supervisors to establish effective communication and synergy within their teams using teamwork models and collaboration tools and technologies.
But can improving collaboration also help a retail company cut costs and save time?
There are many scenarios where adopting display technologies and improving collaboration can help retailers save time and money, while also improving sales.
With stores and supervisors spread across a region, it can become difficult for Area Managers to share information about promotion ideas and announcements to all stores at once.
Furthermore, travelling to multiple store locations and having the same discussion with various store supervisors can not only be draining and taxing, but also involve significant time and cost investments.
In such scenarios, collaboration tools help by facilitating remote meetings for retail businesses and bringing together managers and employees stationed at diverse locations:
● Retail managers can easily use video conferencing features of collaboration tools to communicate faster, and ensure that all stores operate on the same level.
● Moreover, retailers can ensure that the stores are connected at all times of the day and can be reached whenever the need arises, thereby improving collaboration and efficiency.
● By cutting down on travel time and enabling remote management to a large extent, the retail business can greatly reduce costs and time spent on unproductive activities.
Training holds a lot of importance in the retail industry, especially keeping in mind how consumer trends and behaviours keep changing all the time. But many retailers are not able to provide the required training to their employees because of the high costs involved.
Collaboration technology helps reduce these costs by providing video conferencing capabilities and allowing training sessions to be conducted online. Studies show that online training can reduce overall training time by 40-60%. Hence, It makes sense for retailers to use smart projectors and other video conferencing and cloud collaboration tools to conduct their training sessions remotely:
● One major area where remote training helps reduce spending is by cutting down travel costs. Retailers spend a lot of money and energy in bringing instructors to the various store locations or employees to a common training venue. With remote training, this cost is completely negated.
● Remote training also saves time and productivity that could be potentially lost when traveling to and from the training location.
● Moreover, because of remote training, instructor, venue, and printing costs are cut down drastically.
In your retail business, you would have seen how Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is shaping up to be a policy worth considering, and rightly so! BYOD is apt for retail businesses as the number of non-desk employees in the retail industry is very high. Allowing employees, especially shop-floor assistants to use personal devices to gather information is a sure shot way of improving engagement and productivity.
According to reports, BYOD helps reduce the company’s spending by $1097 per employee. Considering the number of employees retail chains have, this can be a huge amount of savings. But with BYOD, there are multiple challenges that can pop up. This is where collaboration technology comes in.
Collaboration tools like wireless projectors, smart projectors, and interactive flat panels support BYOD policies and help improve efficiency for retail businesses. They create clear communication channels between corporate headquarters and facilitate quick information sharing. By providing secure access to the internet and cloud based drives, they also enable collaboration amongst all departments in the headquarters and allow for effective decision making which can then be implemented quickly across retail stores. Furthermore, they are highly compatible with all types of devices and operating systems which helps develop a smart retail environment.
It is clear that investment in technology is a must if any retail business wants to survive, especially keeping in mind the transformations being brought about because of Covid-19 and social distancing. And collaboration technologies are the first step towards making your retail teams more agile, responsive, and collaborative.