The season to be jolly is just around the corner, and nowhere is that truer than in the retail chains that thrive on this season’s sales.
Yet shopping during the peak days of late November and December can turn even the merriest soul into Ebenezer Scrooge. The very idea of holiday shopping conjures up images of crowds of crazed shoppers, the feeling of stress about what presents to buy for family and friends, and the fear of making bad purchase decisions in the rushed, pressure-filled atmosphere. Add to that the rise of new possibilities for e-commerce, and it’s easy to see why online shopping is gobbling up an ever-bigger chunk of the holiday shopping season’s sales – even though Black Friday foot traffic at brick-and-mortar retailers showed only a slight decrease in 2017 as compared to 2016. The good news for traditional retailers? New technologies for shopping aren’t only for e-commerce. Rather, retailers can leverage high-tech platforms such as robotic process automation (RPA) to enhance the brick-and-mortar experience. Those that empower sales associates with these innovative tools gain a competitive advantage to help them do more business and win more loyal customers, while boosting efficiency and minimizing the risk of error.
With those goals in mind, here are 4 ways RPA can help retailers maximize profits on Black Friday and throughout the holiday shopping season (as well as the rest of the year):
1. Eliminating long lines
One of customers’ biggest hassles is waiting in grueling holiday checkout lines – but these lines can be even more problematic for the retailers who stand to lose valuable business if frustrated customers give up rather than wait their turn.
Businesses can increase their sales by improving their checkout processes using attended automation, a type of RPA in which a robot sitting right on the user’s computer assists them by either guiding them through specific work processes or performing these processes from end to end. Attended automation is an innovative tool that can be used at a point of sale (POS) to speed up the checkout process, empower sales associates, and predict shoppers’ needs – allowing retailers to provide a faster and more enjoyable experience that will keep customers coming back.
2. Preparing teams of competent and helpful sales associates
Too often, companies throw seasonal workers into the sea of holiday shoppers with little or no training, thinking that “the more hands the better.” In reality, this does little to relieve an already stressful and hectic environment. Busy shoppers are often unsympathetic and have little patience for untrained sales associates who spend precious time fiddling with the register system or waiting for a manager.
Instead, retailers can use attended automation to quickly get new or temporary employees up to speed. Specifically, an attended robot running on a company’s POS system can either provide real-time guidance or automatically perform the necessary steps for the cashier. This way, even inexperienced employees can successfully perform their jobs quickly and accurately – resulting in faster and seamless transactions that will keep customers happy while generating more business.
3. Creating more personalized customer service
Customer data and analytics are valuable tools for boosting sales, and not only online. Yet, according to Accenture, while 72% of retail leaders demand data-driven decisions from their organizations, only 25% of those who use analytics say they use their data “to a great extent.”
The main culprit? A lack of the proper tools to gather actionable insights into the customer’s shopping experience. But with attended RPA, a robot can identify sales opportunities by analyzing each customer’s profile to determine their eligibility for promotions or sales campaigns while they are standing at the register. The system then prompts the cashier with personalized recommendations – turning every transaction into a cross-selling and up-selling opportunity that provides true value for the customer and potentially increases the size of the sale.
Of course, boosting sales is just part of the picture of how RPA can help retailers make the most of Black Friday and the rest of the holiday shopping season. That brings us to a fourth way RPA can help increase profit margins over the coming weeks (as well as the rest of the year).
4. Helping get more done, faster and more accurately
In addition to using attended automation, retailers can increase their overall efficiency and prevent errors by automating front-office and back-office processes through unattended automation, a type of RPA in which a robot running on a virtual machine automatically performs a task from end to end based on a set schedule, a triggering event, or both. Through unattended automation, retailers can increase both the speed and the accuracy of a wide variety of tasks, including important business intelligence, human resources, and finance/accounting activities. And to maximize their RPA ROI, they can use Kryon’s unique Hybrid Automation capability to assign attended and unattended robots to work together – enabling each company to create an ideal automation solution to meet their specific needs.
Ready to see how Kryon’s Attended, Unattended, and Hybrid RPA solutions can help you make the most of your sales on Black Friday, through the holiday shopping season, and year-round? Click here to schedule a live demo today.