Convergence and digitalization have hit the retail business hard. Very few people go to brick-and-mortar shops to buy products, at least without researching online first. But online retailers do not succeed either without a strong presence in the field. Today’s customers prefer to engage through hybrid channels. They expect a seamless experience through whatever channels they choose, and demand instant results as well. They will quietly move to competitors if they face a delay or other triggers that lead to discontent.
The COVID-19 pandemic has wrecked time-tested business models and heralded a digital-first economy. Side-by-side, most retail businesses have become hyper-competitive. Too many businesses chase a limited set of customers. Cutthroat margins have become the norm. The post-pandemic supply chain disruptions add to the uncertainty and stress.
The solution to overcome such challenges is efficiency improvements and accuracy. Retail businesses cannot afford to waste time or resources if they are to succeed. By adopting a field service software, retailers are equipped with a perfect tool to maximize efficiency and streamline workflows for bringing in higher performance at minimal costs.
Here are a few areas where deploying a field service solution will prove to be a game-changer for retail businesses, big or small.
The success of any retail business depends on making available the right goods at the right location. Retailers may adopt a field management suite to make service appointments or even deliver goods to their customers. The suite generates a ticket or a work order for any service or delivery request and assigns the nearest team to the task.
Best-in-breed platforms like ReachOut integrate with maps and real-time traffic information to guide field teams. The software plots the best routes to reach the destination in the shortest possible time, consuming the least amount of fuel.
Streamlined scheduling and dispatching enabled by the field service software deliver efficiency gains. The critical supply chain and last-mile delivery functions become faster and more reliable as well.
A field service management suite centralizes information and integrates workflows, which is a big win for retail businesses. Intuitive app-based dashboards provide managers with complete information. They may make quick decisions from anywhere, using their smartphones.
Quick, informed decisions allow the business to become more competitive and win big. A manager may, for instance, announce a flash sale with free delivery to clear huge accumulated stock of a perishable commodity.
Ikea offers a shining example of using field service management software to delight customers. The company uses its field service solution to get a single source for the customer view and to equip sales teams with customer stories and critical data points. The platform also becomes a single point to schedule service appointments and manage the entire sales cycle.
Audits and inspections are critical to ensure retail operations work as expected and there is no seepage. Routing audits through the FSM software ensures critical functions such as the inventory remains up to date. The suite also sends automated reports to managers on the audit reports, making follow-up actions easy.
An integrated field management software co-opts billing. Field teams may mark the delivery as complete in their smartphone app and generate delivery invoices. They may collect instant payment if the suite integrates a payment processing platform like PayPal.
Not all field service platforms are equal. Subscribing to an inadequate platform would be money down the drain. Such suites may disrupt the existing workflows without offering any value addition, and do more harm than good.
ReachOut exemplifies the best field service suite for retail businesses. The suite offers all the basic features and several additional functionalities such as:
1. Advanced Scheduling – This allows assigning work to teams and fixing individual responsibilities. Easy calendar views make explicit the jobs assigned to various work teams. Service managers will find the intuitive drag-and-drop job scheduling feature a straightforward and hassle-free way to assign jobs for delivery teams on the go. Schedulers may also configure rules to avoid deliveries outside office hours or holidays.
2. Mobile Workforce Management – Paired with a companion mobile app, ReachOut makes life easy for field teams. Technicians can view the jobs assigned to them on their phone or tablet and get notified of any changes in the schedule right away. They also get self-service options for leave applications, payroll-related requests, and other information.
Besides, the mobile app connects to the GPS and charts optimized routes that guide field teams to customer locations much faster while also making explicit their exact location in real-time. This way, service managers can track the progression and performance of their teams.
3. Centralized View – Managers get integrated views of open orders, field teams, out for deliveries, and other insights, through their version of the app. These insights enable them to make prompt interventions in case of delay. In the worst-case scenario, they keep the customer informed of any delays. Timely deliveries and quick communications develop trust. Casual customers convert to become regular ones.
4. Digital Forms – The forms marketplace offers hundreds of forms, including checklists, structured questionnaires, and other resources. Retail businesses may conduct inventory checks and other inspections using these forms. Inspectors use Apply Stylus or comparable pens to work on these electronic forms, just like pen-and-paper forms. The stylized forms option allows retailers to upload custom forms and includes branding elements in the forms.
5. Invoice Creation – Upon task completion, field teams can instantly generate professional-looking invoices and convert them into billing once verified. For instance, delivery agents can generate the invoice through their smartphone or tablet and accept the payment from the customer directly.
The transaction gets updated in the customer profile and accounts. The sales agent profile also updates to determine work hours and any commission.
6. Platform Customization – Extensive white labeling options, available in the enterprise edition, enable deep customization. A host of native integrations and APIs ensures the free flow of information between ReachOut and enterprise databases.
7. Email Configuration – In ReachOut, retailers can configure their business email with third-party providers such as Gmail allowing them to send customized emails to their customers regarding offers, birthday wishes, and promotions for building deeper levels of connection. They can also use this option to get direct feedback from customers.
8. Assured Data Security – The best functionality becomes worthless if a data breach occurs and takes down the business’s reputation along with the data. ReachOut offers a high level of security, with robust data centers and high-grade infrastructure. Options such as single sign-on combine convenience with security.
Retail businesses using ReachOut Suite can streamline their intricate workflows and ensure the accuracy of their deliverables. The platform delivers huge efficiency improvements, which becomes the source of competitive advantages for the business.
Get in touch with our solution experts to know more about how ReachOut can impact the bottom line of retail businesses like yours.