Jos de Vries The Retail Company: Smart Retailing, now!

Seduce the customer. It’s a fine art in the retail sector. The P for Presentation is key. But that doesn’t mean the other marketing P’s should be left by the wayside. Retailers that score above average on all Ps are the winners of the future.

Experience, atmosphere, entertainment…a retail formula is increasingly becoming an image builder. The store as brand, with all spotlights on the product, its presentation and enticing and binding the customer. The client remains critical, however, and wants value for money. Providing added value, particularly in the form of customer satisfaction and service for the lowest possible price, is essential for survival in an overflowing market. These developments and trends will only continue to grow in importance.

Creative and innovative
Looking at Dutch retail, particularly in the food sector, something else happened as well. Retailers have had to deal with enormous price pressures over the past years. Returns have dwindled, profits minimised. So is it all doom and gloom? No, because there’s a silver lining to be found as well: creativity and innovation have been stimulated and pushed into an even higher gear by continuing technological developments.

Smart Retailing
The organisation of labour begins with creating insight into labour processes and the costs involved. Where information about customers and product streams and the influence thereof on the organisation on annual, monthly, weekly, daily, even hourly levels is used at a store level, the potential for improvement is enormous. The processes lead modern retail, with the workforce organised around them. That is Smart Retailing, targeted and intelligent. Innovations like self scanning checkout and automated ordering systems also demand intelligent solutions. For self scanning checkouts, you need to answer questions like ‘when do employees need to be available, and how high are the savings at that point?’ An automated order system has a huge influence of logistical streams; ‘at what moment do I need to deploy how many people to make sure things run smoothly?’ is the question that needs answering.

Pamper your customers while remaining cost-effective?
In short, thinking in processes and deploying people around them is not a pipe dream, it’s an everyday reality. The broad retail process knowledge and innovations in IT technology enable us to provide retailers across the globe with advanced instruments to help them schedule employees in a cost-effective manner. This means the right employee will always be present at the right place, within the right number of hours, doing the right work, suited to his job. The result: savings on wage costs, greater profits and increased returns. And the customer in all of this? He gets what he wants, a well-stocked store that’s nice to shop at, where he’s welcomed like a king and employees can take the time to pamper him. Now that’s smart retailing!

Johannes de Vries is Director for Jurjen de Vries, management & efficiency agency. Retail specialist in the field of planning and organising labour.

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