The genie has been out of the bottle for a while. Customers are looking to purchase from their preferred channels, on their terms, and there is no turning back. Even with Amazon’s success, they recognized that a single online channel will not suffice, hence the opening of brick and mortar book stores, Amazon Go, and now the purchase of Whole Foods Market. Progressive Grocers’ article on omnichannel was certainly an eyeopener for me: http://bit.ly/2yAqtLz
The complexities of forecasting demand for perishables, non-perishables and labor while keeping customers delighted will be the key to an omnichannel retailer’s success. If the store is out of Hellmann’s Mayo 32-ounce, will the customer be happier if you substitute a small 12-ounce squeeze bottle of Hellmann’s or a 32-ounce of private label mayo? One certainly wouldn’t make a happy customer by substitutiing Oscar Mayer hotdogs for Hebrew National.
With all the attention being placed on omnichannel, retailers still must focus on their most profitable area: the storefront.
If you have your store team picking online orders at the wrong time, the in-store customer experience will suffer. That wrong time for in-store customers may very well be the right time for the online customers who expect their deliveries when they want them. One solution is to increase staff just to pick orders, but the risk to the store’s labor cost may be high.
By automating storefront tasks where possible, retailers can empower employees to do higher level, more customer facing work such as the implementation of an omnichannel presence. Automation examples that free up employee time include deli kiosk, smart waste bins, self-serve checkouts, and robots in the warehouse. Taking it to the next level, Amazon is experimenting with the elimination of checkouts with RFID technology at its Amazon Go store while Walmart is filing patents for drone delivery technology. The industry is off to an exciting start in omnichannel.
Retailers are adopting and embracing innovative solutions for front-of-house labor intensive tasks – such as collecting storefront waste and recycling. Bigbelly is automation tool for these innovative retailers. Retailers use Bigbelly to automate much of the work associated with public waste and recycling collections. This allows the employees to improve their productivity fivefold by reducing trash collections 80%. These employee hours can now be allocated to helping the retailer touch more customers whether that it is getting the shopping carts where they need to be or getting its online presence off the ground.
What is my favorite channel? I’m mostly old school and still like to go the store, but I am looking forward to the day I can take my flying car to the grocery pick up lane!
Until next time,
Get in touch with Mark:
This post is part of a series by Bigbelly’s Director of Private Sector Solutions, Mark Koeck. Mark is an enthusiastic champion of helping organizations transform their front-of-house waste and recycling operations by using technology as a catalyst for change. The Bigbelly smart waste and recycling system is making a notable difference in retailers, grocerers, convenience stores, food service, venues, office buildings, and hospitals across the globe. Mark will be sharing insights and learnings from waste management in these markets, and how technology and automation impact the customer experience, employee productivity, and sustainability for private sector businesses and organizations. We hope these insights pique your interest in the prospect of a smart waste system for these applications. Enjoy!