While many business teams embrace the mantra of “people, process and technology” as though it were a meditative chant for success, they are often not aware of the disparity between theory and reality and the challenges to achieve a harmonious orchestration of all three components.Continue reading
5 Steps to Optimizing Retail Reverse Logistics
Insights on How Retailers Can Optimize Customer Satisfaction, Maximize Profits and Minimize Store Associates’ Time
Reverse logistics is often a process that doesn’t garner a lot of time and attention from retailers. However, optimizing reverse logistics may be a missed opportunity to improve customer satisfaction and increase profits.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated online transactions and dramatically increased the volume of returns, which is causing retailers to pay more attention to reverse logistics. The increase in products purchased online and returned in the store is also creating an immediate need for better omni-channel returns processes. Leading digital retailers have embedded reverse logistics as a seamless, frictionless process for customers. Now it is time for physical stores to optimize their reverse logistics.
This white paper outlines five key steps to optimizing retailers’ reverse logistics policies and processes.
- Establish Customer-friendly Return Policies
- Design Efficient Return Processes
- Determine Optimal Merchandise Disposition
- Optimize Reverse Logistics Transportation Processes
- Analyze and Optimize Returns Processes
Download the 5 Steps to Optimizing Retail Reverse Logistics white paper to apply these principles to your returns processes.
8 Steps to Turn Global Supply Chain Disruptions into a Competitive Advantage
Insights on How Retailers Can Adopt Key Principles to Agilely Adapt to Supply Chain Disruptions
As COVID-19 spread across the world in 2020, it exposed the vulnerability of global supply chains. Globalization has allowed retailers to reduce supply chain costs and innovate through international sourcing, however, long and complex global supply chains bring significant risks when there are global disruptions.
Today, more than ever before, it is vital that retailers adopt an agile approach to combat disruption to their global supply chains. It is imperative to have the right organization, processes, and systems in place to continuously review and adjust the flow of goods from supplier to customer. With an agile supply chain approach, retailers can rapidly and cost effectively adapt to global disruption to maintain, or even enhance, service to customers.
The 8 Steps to Turn Global Supply Chain Disruptions into a Competitive Advantage white paper outlines the ways retailers can take to turn global supply chain disruptions into a competitive advantage.
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FLIPPING THE SCRIPT TRANSFORMING THE STORE TO A STAGE
The Role of Stores and Restaurants is Evolving to Meet New Consumer Expectations for a Theatrical Experience.
Despite a disastrous start to the new decade, the physical store will endure. Data shows that an overwhelming number of consumers prefer to shop more frequently at brick-and-mortar than online stores and dine in restaurants than order take-out or delivery. However, in a post-pandemic world, the new expectations and shopping behaviors of consumers will push operators to adopt creative new strategies to combat consumer fears and address their new expectations. The new Cambridge Retail Advisors (CRA) white paper, Flipping the Script – Transforming the Store to a Stage, provides insights and strategies for retailers and restaurateurs to adapt to consumers’ expectations for entertaining shopping and dining experiences.
The Flipping the Script – Transforming the Store to a Stage white paper outlines the ways consumer expectations will now require retailers to:
- Offer compelling reasons to return to brick-and-mortar stores
- Provide convenient, safe and contactless transactions
- Ensure continuity of product supply
- Leverage emergent technologies
Download and read the full report to see the complete insights.
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COVID-19 IMPACT STUDY – RETAIL AND RESTAURANT MARKET ANALYSIS
83% of C-level Executives Feel that Retail and Dining will be Changed Forever
As retail and restaurant organizations continue to deal with the new realities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, they are modifying people, process and technology to adapt to evolving consumer expectations and new guidelines and mandates for health and safety. The COVID-19 Impact Study identifies how retailers and restaurateurs were dealing with the key challenges related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their businesses.
The top priorities identified by C-level retail and restaurant executives include:
- 86% Employee Compensation and Safety
- 67% Implementing BOPIS improvements
- 62% Shifting HQ to work at home
Other key findings of the study include:
- 83% of C-level executives feel that retail and dining will be changed forever
- 65% of retailers and restaurant chains plan to reopen all their locations and 25% plan to open a portion of their locations
- 56% of C-level executives feel that the pandemic will permanently change the way people shop and ant people that most consumers will move exclusively to BOPIS or BOPAC shopping
- 59% of companies reported moderate to complete disruption of their supply chain
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STORE RESTART GUIDE
Retailers are eager to reopen their stores and recapture the lost sales from being closed for one to two months due to COVID-19 restrictions.
As many states and local governments are easing restrictions on retailers they need to rapidly and safely reopen their stores in areas that have removed restrictions.
Cambridge Retail Advisors has created a detailed “Store Restart Guide” that outlines everything retailers need to do to reopen stores quickly and safely. Below is a high-level overview of the key components of the Store Restart Guide with the complete list available for download on the Cambridge Retail Advisors web site.
1. Review State and Local Government Guidelines
Each state and some counties will have different guidelines and timing for reopening non-essential stores. Understanding government guidelines and restrictions is essential to developing a plan that adheres to the new rules.
2. Prepare Physical Store Infrastructure and Services
After being closed for one to two months, it is imperative to validate the condition of the property and the proper functioning of all utilities, network services, and security systems. In addition, there are many routine services that need to be rescheduled.
Identify the staff levels needed for the initial reopening of your stores and reengage your team. If employees have been furloughed or laid off, they will need to be rehired. Once onboard, all employees will need to be properly trained on the new policies and procedures.
4. Establish Store Sanitation and Social Distancing Processes and Policies
Based on mandated and recommended guidelines, establish sanitation and social distancing processes for employees and customers. A thorough sanitation of the entire store before reopening and proper signage for new social distancing are key elements to ensuring the safest environment possible.
5. Test and Prepare Store and Corporate Technology
Store and corporate systems that haven’t been running regularly for a month or two need to be tested and validated. Modifications may be needed to adjust for new return policies, pay rates, passwords, etc.
6. Review Inventory Management Status and Processes
The first step to ensuring inventory accuracy is to conduct a full store inventory cycle including the inspection of floor merchandise. Engage your vendors and suppliers to determine if there are any changes in product availability, special order lead times, or delivery schedule. Purchase orders may need to be adjusted accordingly.
7. Communicate Store Openings and Policies to Customers
Once everything is ready for reopening, it is imperative to let customers know you are open with a comprehensive communications plan (website, email, social media, etc.). It is also important to communicate store hours, if revised, and any new social distancing policies for your store.
Reopening your stores won’t guarantee business as usual, as some shoppers may still be hesitant to return to stores and malls. Beyond letting consumers know you are open, it is imperative that they know you have taken proper precautions to make your store as safe as possible. Even that may not be enough to reengage customers.
Offering a special promotion to encourage customers to add your store to the top of their shopping list is a smart strategy. Extra discounts or special financing offers during a “Grand Reopening” event may help spur more shoppers and buyers.
It has been a rough time for retail and now is the time to make sure your reopening is as successful as possible.