How Can CPGs and Retailers Digitally Improve Bricks and Mortar Operations?

Mila Budeva
Mila Budeva
Jan 31, 2017

Consumer packaged goods companies (CPGs) and retailers, share the common goal of continuously improving customer experience.

In the introduction to this series, we observed how increasingly tech-savvy customers have prompted CPGs and retailers to heavily invest in the online customer journey, from apps to beacons, VR to e- and m-commerce. In contrast, digital transformation initiatives aimed at operational excellence in the deskless workforce and bricks and mortar have been neglected.

This "digital gap" is limiting the customer experience, and undermining $billions of digital transformation investments. 


Today we look at how bringing workforce-facing digital capabilities to the shop floor can result in raised in-store execution standards, a better shopping environment and improved customer service, all crucial to excellent customer experience in-store.


Collaboration for Digital Operational Excellence

In-store processes issues cost CPGs and retailers billions of dollars annually. Losses from out-of-stocks alone total over $630 billion [1]. Digital technology can help both store staff and CPG employees  to erode these losses and drive higher standards in on shelf availability, brand visibility, activation and experiential marketing. 


For example, data analytics supports retail activity optimization (RAO), directing field sales representatives to the 20% of stores and in-store actions which generate 80% of the return.


In addition, image recognition and crowd sourcing capabilities enable reps to focus on value-adding actions by automating measurement and implementing omni-channel retail execution.


In a similar way, store staff can be alerted to in-store issues which need fixing. For example, receiving data driven out-of-stock alerts on their mobile device can direct store staff to problem SKUs, taking immediate action upon issues.  Good use of data and analytics can also support the correct mix of products, promotions and pricing for the catchment area. Collaboration between field reps and store staff can create huge efficiency gains and drive in-store standards for a better customer experience. A consistent data schema on a shared platform, accessible to both field reps and store employees, ensures that they are all measuring KPIs and are identifying and addressing root causes by implementing the same standardised methods. This helps CPGs and retailers to obtain consistently high in-store standards.


A Clean, Safe and Pleasant Shopping Environment

70% of buying experiences are based on how customers feel they are being treated with in-store cleanliness, design, layout, lighting, temperature and even background music all influencing this feeling[2]. It should therefore be no surprise that in 2016 Tesco announced that 74 of its 400 stores will no longer be 24/7 and will shut between midnight and 6am[3]. The time would instead be used by staff to ensure optimal store environment, one which is clean, safe and pleasant.

 (Discover a whole lot more of interesting stats on brick and mortar store operations in our animated infographic!)

As part of this, no compromise can be made with health and safety standards in-store. Even the slightest deviation risks the well-being of customers and employees, can result in big losses and even lead to store closure. For example, in 2016, ASDA was fined £664,000 after a mouse infestation which directly affected a customer’s health[4]. This points to the importance of driving and monitoring adherence to regulations at all times.


A mobile process platform like Zaptic drives compliance by guiding users, whether members of store staff or of third party facilities management, through the best practices and routines, ensuring consistent execution and reporting in a stadardised format. This way, employees can easily adhere to regulations without the need to consult lengthy PDFs or manuals and without risk of omitting a time-sensitive activity. Retailers gain real-time visibility and can immediately spot and correct non-compliance.


Customer Service

"Better human service" is among the most requested in-store improvements from customers[5]. Customers expect knowledgeable, helpful staff that matches their information-rich digital experience. However, with the existing digital gap we have digital customers but not digital workers and processes. 41% of customers, for example, believe that store employees are not sufficiently informed about the inventory status[6]. Providing store staff with real-time access to insights on products, stock levels and promotions enables them to quickly address customer queries. As a result, digital customers can interact with digital workers and enjoy consistent customer experience across online and offline channels.


Perfect retail execution and monitoring with Zaptic-learn how!