What are Retail Operations? The Complete Guide
Retail operations consist of all the tasks and activities daily that go into running a retail business store smoothly and efficiently. Retail operations include everything from opening and closing a store to providing customers with a great shopping experience. In this blog, we will discuss a variety of duties in everyday retail and how they work like store opening checklist, store closing checklist, 5 methodologies, the role of retail operation software, and more. In addition, let us see why it is important to contribute to increasing sales and customer satisfaction.
What are Retail Operations?
Retail Operations refers to the everyday tasks and activities of any retail business that aids in offering a great shopping experience to their customers. Numerous everyday tasks are required to be completed from opening to closing of a retail store. These tasks include in-store presentations, cleanliness, customer service, balancing cash registers, marketing, promotions, and more. This set of tasks is what comes under retail operations and management. Let’s see what retail operation entails through an example: Any retail store opening time for customers at 10 am begins the store opening tasks at least an hour early to get the store ready for customers. The retail store is inspected first thing after opening the store and the cash registers are balanced. All the lights and other electric appliances are switched on.
Then the store team members carry on with the other tasks such as dusting, cleaning the floors, cleaning the changing rooms, cleaning the toilets, and ensuring that all the shelves are filled with properly placed products. Store team members should ensure that all the visual merchandising and promotional activities are in place. Once all these tasks are completed, the store is ready to open. Similarly, retail operations consist of all the other everyday tasks to ensure the smooth operation of the retail store.
How Retail Operation Works?
Retail operations are a list of tasks and processes that contribute to the smooth operational management of retail stores to make them customer-ready for business every day. This includes training store teams, visual merchandising execution, store presentations, marketing campaigns, inventory management, and excellent customer service. Retail Operations include a plethora of tasks and activities, let us take a look at these duties in everyday retail operations-
- Store Opening and Closing tasks: The store opening and closing tasks every retail store outlet for a new business day and helps them to conclude the day in an organized manner. The opening tasks prepare the store for another business day to offer customers a great experience. On the other hand, closing concludes the day of business operations and prepares the store for opening the next day. This includes tasks like cleaning the store, balancing the cash registers, ensuring all facilities at the store are well and working, and so on.
- Inventory Management: The process of organizing and managing the retailer’s product stocks of inventory is known as inventory management. This includes all the tasks related to acquiring, storing, and showcasing inventory. Inventory management also monitors the products that are in high, medium, and low demand to manage inventory according to the needs of the customers. The store team members check all the stocks on the shelves and restock them if needed. In addition, they place orders for fast-moving products.
- Visual Merchandising: Visual merchandising is one of the most important tasks to boost sales by presenting retail products and building the in-store presentation in an aesthetically pleasing manner while smartly placing the products to persuade customers to make purchases. This includes product placement, colour schemes, brand identity, signage, lighting, and ambience that create an inviting presence for the targeted audience. The VM execution is updated and checked regularly to ensure the VM guidelines are being followed. In addition, other marketing promotions are also followed according to the instructions to attract sales.
- Ongoing Training and Development: Retail operations training is the process of educating your store teams on how to efficiently run your store every day from opening to closing. Training topics primarily include sales techniques, SOP checklists, inventory management, visual merchandising execution, and more. Store team members should be given training regularly to keep them updated on everything related to the brand. This makes them well-equipped to offer the customers a great customer service experience.
These are the top 4 elements of what goes into the working retail operations of a store. The list of duties and areas increases according to the retail industry and in-store needs.
The Function of Retail Operation Management Software
Retail operations management software, also known as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP software) helps streamline all the tasks and processes of retail management efficiently to a platform that enables real-time monitoring as well. There are many tools to make in-store operation management hassle-free and organized with the help of retail operation management software like Taqtics which is specifically designed to cater to retail operation management. This platform offers a wide range of smart features to improve visibility and control daily in-store retail operations through streamlining. Here are some of the key functions of retail operation management software.
Regularly reviewing and monitoring processes to identify gaps, and drive continuous improvement by ensuring compliance of all business processes. With the usage of digital checklists on Taqtics. Managers can monitor daily tasks remotely. This frees up the time of the area managers to completely focus the auditing process on areas of improvement to enhance sales and revenue generation for every store. The platform also generates automated reports based on the data provided, saving time and helping managers keep track of improvement areas for individual stores and the execution of its solutions.
Process management means streamlining workflows to enhance operational efficiency and productivity. Through process management, businesses can identify bottlenecks, implement standardized business procedures, and use technology for the effective completion and communication of daily tasks and activities.
Retail store management refers to the clearly defined set of everyday tasks and activities assigned to the store teams across multiple retail stores to manage store operations efficiently to achieve the overall business goals. Implementing merchandising strategies, monitoring store performance, and addressing operational challenges to drive business growth all come under store management.
Ticket & TAT (Turnaround Time)
Managing, tracking, and resolving issues in multiple stores is a tedious task. With Taqtics’ issue ticketing system, you can ensure that problems are highlighted and addressed promptly. As soon as an issue is registered, the relevant team is automatically notified. You can easily track the details of each issue which includes complete visibility into unassigned or delayed problems, through a simple dashboard. This helps streamline the process and ensures timely resolution of store issues.
Share documents, instruction manuals, and more with the store team members easily. The store team members do not need to carry heavy and tacky study or information material. The digital content library also gives the advantage of being able to access relevant content anytime, anywhere according to the free time and individual preferences of your store teams.
Gathering and analyzing data to provide accurate and detailed insights is crucial for informed decision-making. Presenting information clearly and concisely, highlighting key metrics and trends to support strategic planning and performance evaluation in an important function of retail management software.
Managing day-to-day activities and resources to ensure the smooth and efficient functioning of the organization. Optimizing operational processes, fostering collaboration across departments, and aligning strategies with overall business goals.
It is very important to ensure that every store team member knows what, when, and how to do their daily tasks. With LMS solutions, store team members can attend training and refer to learning materials at any time, anywhere. Taqtics offers tools to conduct assessments and quizzes easily to monitor the performance and knowledge retention of every store team member across all your stores. It brings down the costs and time spent on classroom training and makes training more effective.
The traditional system of paper-based checklists to track SOP adherence is ineffective in today’s retail world. SOP adherence at your retail store outlets cannot be monitored closely without physically visiting your store. Taqtics offers real-time visibility into the daily SOP adherence of your store teams across multiple locations. The platform also helps to notify store teams when they miss out on a task or duty.
Issue reporting in retail is the process of noting the information on any concerns, fixtures, or other problems that may arise in a retail store and communicating them effectively to find a resolution as soon as possible. It enables efficient reporting and tracking of operational issues within a retail environment, allowing timely resolution of problems like broken appliances, fixtures, or other issues.
Daily checklists in retail consist of a well-defined and systematic set of tasks and activities that retail store teams need to complete routinely every day. Retail and restaurants have busy schedules and your store team members need a SOP checklist to have a clear picture of their daily tasks and check them as they complete these tasks. However, how will they be reminded of a missed task? Or how can the management track task completion with paper-based daily checklists? This is why Taqtics offers digital SOP checklists. With Taqtics, store team members get reminders in case they miss out or delay a task. With the live-photo feature on Taqtics, managers can gain visibility to monitor and address any required corrections instantly. The management can monitor the completion of daily tasks remotely across multiple locations in real-time using the dashboard on Taqtics.
In today’s retail industry, every single detail of the store contributes to the growth and development of the business, Taqtics is a valuable asset in smartly simplifying retail operations to smoothly meet everyday business goals. From monitoring, store team training, SOP checklists, visual merchandising tools, and issue ticketing solutions to real-time dashboards with data insights, Tactics got them all. Apart from these, There are many other features like an attendance tracker, visual merchandising tools, geo-fencing, noticeboards, and more.
Types of Retail Operations
The retail world is incredibly diverse with a variety of business models across different sectors continuously evolving to the needs of the consumers. Every retail business model has its own unique characteristics and business strategies. Let us take a look at some of the important retail business models and what consumer needs they fulfill.
- Brick and Mortar Retail Stores
The term brick and mortar refers to constructing physical buildings, unlike online stores that only exist in the digital world. Brick-and-mortar stores are the oldest kind of retail stores. This type of retail store has a location where the customers can walk into the store, browse through the products in person, and make the purchase directly
- Franchise Operations
Franchise operations are a type of retail operation that grants rights to independent entrepreneurs to operate their retail store outlet under their brand name. They give adequate training and help to get the store up and running. This allows the franchisee to set up their store to use the franchisor’s retail business model, branding, and trademark for a small fee.
- Supermarket and grocery store operations
Supermarket and grocery store operations are a type of retail store operations that has a wide variety of products and product departments to bring together the everyday needs of the home in one place. Supermarket offers foods, fresh foods, packed goods, frozen goods electrical appliances, stationeries, household items, and a variety of services.
- Mobile Retail
Mobile retailer stores mostly operate on wheels like a van or a trailer. Mobile retail operations are a very flexible business accessing many locations, unlike brick-and-mortar retail shops. They operate by moving from place to place at locations where consumers gather to increase their sales. Examples of mobile retail include food trucks, apparel on wheels, mobile bookstores, etc.
- Catalog Retail
Catalogue retail uses printed or digital catalogues to sell products directly to customers. Traditional catalogue retail system uses mail to send printed catalogues to consumers to purchase call. Today, catalogue retail also uses the internet to send catalogues to consumers via email and to make purchases online. This type of business normally has a select niche of products only.
- Pop-up Retail
As the name suggests pop retail refers to pop-up shops that are temporarily set up store for a short time, usually to make the most of a specific event or season. Pop-up stores can be an affordable way to attempt sales of new products with customers. Examples of pop-up retail include stalls, kiosks, and standalone shops.
This is an online-based retail store operation that enables customers to make purchases online anytime and anywhere. E-commerce businesses conduct their sales through business websites or applications. Unlike traditional stores, e-commerce only exists in the digital realm of retail businesses.
- Omnichannel Operations
Omnichannel operations means a business retail store that uses multiple channels to make its products available to wider consumers. This type of operation combines brick-and-mortar and e-commerce operations to increase their profit margins. Omnichannel paves different paths for customers to make purchases according to their willingness and convenience.
- Discount Stores
As its name implies, a discount store is a type of retail business that offers a variety of products at a little lower price than the actual market price. Discount stores also have a lot of departments of products similar to the supermarket system but for a lesser price. On the other hand, discount stores expect consumers to be self-sufficient as they provide only minimal customer service than that of supermarket stores or department stores.
- Pharmacy/ Drug Stores
The main purpose of a pharmacy or drug store retail shop is to offer their consumers medicines or products that are prescribed by a doctor. Drug stores also offer products that don’t need prescriptions like vitamins, supplements, band-aids, pain relief ointments, sanitizer, and more. Today, with the help of technology, we can also order medicines or health and wellness products through the website or software of the drugstore.
These are the 10 most important types of retail business models. All these retail business models have unique retail operation systems as their built to meet different types of customer demands and expectations.
5S of Retail Operation
The 5S methodology of retail operations consists of steps involved in making retail stores more efficient, organized, and productive. Let’s what 5S stands for and how each of them contributes to retail operations.
Retail operations are all about providing your shoppers with a great customer experience. With the right retail operations software, store teams, and sales team you can get impressed customers. Ensure that you have a good set of marketing promotions, visual merchandising, and in-store presentations set in place across your retail stores to welcome your shoppers.
Retail store operations consist of a plethora of tasks and responsibilities which include daily store opening tasks, visual merchandising inventory management, balancing cash registers, customer service, marketing, promotions, and daily closing tasks. To organize and manage these tasks efficiently, there should be a clearly defined set of Standard operating Procedures (SOPs). SOP checklists should be created by clearly mentioning what, when, and how each task should be conducted.
The frontline teams are the face of your business and the back-end teams are the backbone of your business. Constructive training should be offered to your store teams consistently even after the initial training session to ensure they are well-updated. Retail operations management software like Taqtics helps bring down the distance between management and the store teams with effective communications and keeping store teams in the loop.
The space where you build up your retail store is as important as everything else that goes into building your store. When you choose a space, ensure that it is easily accessible and visible to your customers. The store should give enough space to access all the aisles and products without being crammed up. In addition, make sure there is an ample amount of parking space in front of the store or surrounding the store.
Inventory management is a crucial aspect of running a retail store as maintaining an adequate amount of inventory is a must for ensuring the revenue that comes from sales. Strong inventory control assists shops in avoiding the production of dead stock, keeping cash flow under control, and maintaining stock in line with analyses of sales and demand.
The 5S – Shoppers, System, Staff, Space, and Stock is an important framework that ensures the smooth functioning of your retail stores. You can build a successful retail operation that meets customer expectations and exceeds them by creating clear standard operating procedures, investing in staff training and communication, deciding on the right store location, and skillfully managing inventory.
How to Improve Retail Operations?
Retail operations are consistently growing with the continuously changing customer demands and trends. Retailers should tread carefully to build effective retail store operations. Here are the top 3 strategies to improve retail operations.
- Expand Your Supplier Base
The need for quick and flexible delivery choices is at an all-time high. This places a high importance on the reliability of the supply chain. Learn how a diversified supply chain helps you satisfy consumer demand and sustain the trust of your customers.
- Improve Inventory Management
For your distribution channel to become more efficient, inventory management and fulfillment operations need to be upgraded for your distribution channel to become more efficient. Update store designs to put order fulfillment first and streamline processes.
- Automate to Reduce Labor Dependence
Automation becomes a strategic requirement as labour shortages affect the retail industry. Discover how utilizing technology for automation not only tackles issues with the workforce but also boosts operational effectiveness and lowers errors with Taqtics!
These key strategies will contribute effectively to thriving forward in your retail business. These strategies will help your business overcome challenges, adjust to changing customer expectations, and remain competitive in the retail sector. By putting these tactics into practice, you not only satisfy urgent demands but also ensure a more sustainable growth and future for your retail business.