Retail businesses face numerous challenges, but they must keep the various business activities running smoothly and efficiently. They need to ensure sufficient inventory to supply products on demand, and process and complete orders in time to satisfy customers. Employees have to be trained, retained, and managed to ensure adequate manpower for their outlets; and they must provide quick, competent service and support to customers across channels.
The customer today is very discerning and has high expectations of exciting buyer journeys, and necessitating businesses to come up with innovative ways to deliver customer satisfaction, even after sales. Retailers today are expected to take care of minute details like product mix and placement, store location, demographics, price, and a lot more, to enhance the customer's journey.
It is these details that help retailers build the brand and deliver a great user experience, and attract more customers. However, due to the following reasons, many retailers today are looking at reduced profits -
- Lack of product innovation
- Ineffectiveness, leading to insufficient profits on numerous products
- Non-optimization of workforce
With complexities multiplying in the retail sphere, retailers must get a grip on the various elements involved - without which, they may go on a downward spiral.
Robotic process optimization or RPA allows businesses to automate monotonous and repetitive manual activities, speed up workflows, and optimize overall expenses.
How Can RPA Help the Retail Sector?
Retail is the last link in a multifaceted supply chain, with costs being added at every phase. Any solution that helps reduce these expenses or optimize the product costing, can help retailers improve profitability.
RPA in retail provides support to a wide range of office and admin tasks in addition to operational activities and financial tasks. RPA can be instrumental in enhancing productivity and accuracy across a range of operations in retail.
8 Key RPA Use Cases in Retail
Below, we will take a look at the most common use cases for robotic process automation in the retail sector which can help reduce errors and human effort and help in the optimal implementation of critical resources.
Business & Sales Analytics
Sales analytics is essential for numerous retail decisions like introducing products, trade promotions, and so on. RPA can be implemented to automate this activity with real-time, data-driven reports on customer behavior and preferences with regards to specific products or their aspects. These reports can tell you why certain customers are moving away; grab the opportunity to maximize customer retention. RPA analytics can also perform predictive analytics, helping retailers to optimize stocks.
Store Planning & Inventory Management
The conventional practice in retail is to arrange store layouts as per the needs and preferences of existing customers – which does make sense. Regular customers know where products are placed and they are more likely to complete their purchases quickly. Finding products quickly and without fuss is a big selling point – even online. The one drawback, however, is that human analysts cannot deal with the sea of sales data – only the most important factors; and we have seen how important the details are. With smart automation, they can do a thorough job and organize the store to align with consumer expectations, deliver a great experience, and increase revenues.
Depending on the demand for a specific product, businesses make a strategy to satisfy the demand. The conventional method was through data collection, standardizing it, and scenario creation, etc. As it was a manual function, a lot of guesswork was involved. This demand-supply planning can be automated with RPA. Businesses will be able to make intelligent, data-driven decisions to manage assets, suppliers and capacity, and for delivering customer support.
Though trade promotions are critical for retail businesses, manually implementing this is an expensive affair. The reason being that this activity necessitates the collection and analysis of loads of data. This is the basic activity, without which the rest is not possible. However, with RPA, this task can be carried out efficiently and quickly. By analyzing volumes of data, the software can tell the retailer the products preferred by specific users - allowing them to offer special discounts or rebates.
Products need to be categorized depending on local and global inventory units; retailers have to think about several factors depending on varying market definitions and components. This categorization can be improved by implementing RPA in retail. It can help businesses put products in appropriate categories after considering numerous factors related to consumers.
Customer Support & Call Center Processes
The foundation of RPA in retail is customer support – all the use cases mentioned above are either directly or indirectly connected with providing customer support. Offering customer support through bots is, however, a direct application of RPA; it enables businesses to support customers 24/7. You can keep your customers updated from the time they place orders till they actually receive the product so that they can track the status of the order without having to check it. Bots can also be taught to respond to simple, frequently asked queries, and ask for feedback as well. The sales team can benefit from this enormously and improve their performance.
Logistics and Supply Chain Management
Retail activities depend heavily on logistics and supply chains – they need the supply chain to run smoothly if they hope to deliver the products to customers in time. Of course, it's not that simple; it's a lengthy, complex chain involving several processes, locations, and personnel. The personnel working in the back offices need to manage inventory levels, deliver customer support, track order statuses, shipments, returns, and so on. With robotic process automation in supply chains and logistics, there can be increased collaboration between the various stakeholders - distributors, suppliers, and customers and quick turnaround. Employees are empowered by freeing them from mundane tasks and enabling them to concentrate on value-adding, strategic tasks, and handling exceptions.
New Product Introductions
With robotic process automation, departments like marketing, manufacturing, and R&D can collaborate better – once activities related to real-time monitoring of customer preferences and alerts and so on are automated. Retailers can adjust manufacture, inventory, and pricing quicker with automation. Costs can be optimized by reducing unnecessary expenditure and optimal use of inventory. Reduced production costs mean businesses can offer products at lower prices for users, delivering greater customer satisfaction.
Benefits of Robotic Process Automation for the Retail Industry
We have seen how RPA when implemented in retail can help improve collaboration and deliver excellent customer service. It also can help to organize complex tasks like compliance, audit regulations, and so on. With automation of these activities, employees can focus on strategy, and handle exceptions. Here's a brief look at the benefits of RPA in retail -
- Reduced risks in delivery
- Enhanced compliance
- Superior management of inventory and improving availability of product to meet demands
- Design smarter promotions that create more value for customers
- Better app integration
- Improved user support
- More precise auditing
- Multi-tasking support
- Optimization of operations expenses
- Achieve precision in business ops
- Data management automation boosts operational efficiency
- Efficient planning with sales and inventory analytics in real-time
- Process orders and returns speedily to boost customer satisfaction
Outsource RPA Services to Flatworld Solutions to Take Your Retail Operation Into the Next Level of Growth
Retailers can leverage RPA to create rule-based processes and enhance customer delivery services. The overarching benefit of robotic process automation is that it helps you to stay ahead of the competition by staying on top of industry trends at all times. At Flatworld Solutions, we offer comprehensive RPA services and handle technical as well as functional aspects that deliver rich business value. Our RPA team will have detailed discussions with your team and then determine the appropriate strategy to deploy this technology in your business. Our exhaustive tech experience and industry knowledge ideally place us to be the delivery partner of choice for your RPA requirements.
If you are looking for reliable and cost-effective RPA services for the retail sector, get in touch with us now.