Although retail has been one of the most captivating and fastest-growing industries in the recent past, the crises in the industry is for everyone to see. The old school methods of retail are facing a dead-end due to changing customer preferences. With the ever-increasing complexities in the industry, retailers have a daunting task in achieving seamless operational workflow when it comes to repetitive processes such as inventory management, customer relationship management, invoice creations, and business reporting. But as the technological advancements in the industry mellow, organizations have started to recognize that the benefits of automation will extend far beyond than just basic cost reduction and accelerated productivity.
When it comes to the retail business, be it a brick & mortar or an e-commerce platform, there are quite a few areas where error-free operations and timely workflows still remain a huge challenge. To stay competitive among their counterparts, retailers are looking for an innovative solution that automate their processes to smoothen the operational flow and enable their employees to spend more time on customers to drive exceptional customer experience.
Diving into the microscopic details of the process, we come across several retail-related scenarios, where the millennial shoppers look beyond than just a buying-selling experience. Today, the retail providers must be equipped to handle faster deliveries, post-sale support and satisfaction, surreal e-commerce experience, and much more. That being said, the retailers are forced to look into every minute detail including prize, demographics, store location, product placement, product mix to seamlessly improve customers’ journey.
Scope of Automation in Retail
The beneficial fusion of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be your best solution to complement the growth and the challenges that go with it. RPA provides the luxury of automating mundane, redundant tasks, accelerate workflows, reduce human errors, and optimize overall costs.
RPA in retail comes with a plethora of operations such as supply chain, marketing promotions, returns processing, product innovations, business analytics, in-store planning, and much more.
According to a report by Automation in Consumer Goods, 43% of CPG executives have already deployed RPA.
Let’s take a look at how RPA transform some of the areas in the retail landscape.
1. Trade Promotions
Marketing planning is a quintessential illustration of retail business process. However, when executed manually, this becomes a very expensive affair for any retail provider. This is simply because trade promotions involve extensive data research and analysis, which are mandatory prerequisites for productive trade promotions.
RPA replaces the task of employees entering data in a spreadsheet in much less time and with higher efficiency. The best example of automating trade promotions would be rebate management, which is most commonly used in the hospitality industry, a type of sales promotion that food retailers prefer as incentives or supplements to product sales.
2. Sales Analytics
An extensive analysis of huge chunks of sales data is instrumental in marketing and customer behavior analysis. For any retailer, sales analytics is a prerequisite for a wide range of retail decisions such as trade promotions, new product innovations, and churn rate minimization.
Automating business and sales analytics helps you with faster access to exhaustive reports comprising real-time insights of consumer behavior and the relevant preferences. The software bots also provides forecasting and predictive analysis, which supports stock optimization.
3. In-Store Planning
The retail industry has some of the processes that are highly relevant to the ‘old-school’ in-store retail. Simply put, the in-store strategy is to place the products in a store based on customer preferences and requirements.
Imagine you shop from a store frequently and the retail provider arranges the products in the store based on your requirements and frequently bought products, you might complete your purchase earlier than expected the next time.
RPA in the retail sector helps you evaluate the strategy of product placement in your store, improve user experience, and reap profits.
4. New Product Introductions
New product and product line launches involve significant investment and transparency across various departments such as R&D, manufacturing, and marketing. Detailed analytics is one of the key aspects when it comes to new product introductions.
Robotic process automation allows the retailers the luxury of modifying pricing, production, and stocks in close agreement with the customers’ preferences.
5. Supply Chain and Logistics Management
The supply chain management is the last step in the retail landscape that has several add-on costs that keep coming up at every stage. There are several processes involved in between the shipping of products from the suppliers to the customers such as inventory monitoring, customer support shipment status tracking, and reverse shipment. All the above processes are dependent on the human workforce based out in the back office.
When you deploy RPA in SCM, you can improve collaboration between suppliers, customers, and distributors. Moreover, the human workforce can indulge in high-value operations to build a better camaraderie with their customers.
Read More: RPA in Supply Chain with Use Cases
RPA in Supply Chain Management: Download WhitePaper
The above listed success areas are the most common tasks that can be automated through RPA within the retail landscape. According to the stats from PwC, there is a scope of saving more than $2 trillion by automating these tasks, and when it comes to the retail industry, RPA becomes more paramount.
At Aspire Systems, we offer end-to-end automation services and leverage businesses to implement RPA in your retail division. Our best of the breed automation experts will help you assess your organization’s current workflows and chalk out the best implementation strategy.
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