Nowadays, a new trend has emerged amongst multi-channel retailers to fulfil their online orders using inventory not from distribution centres, but retail outlets. Although this practice did not even exist in the past, several merchants have now started to process their online orders through stores.
However, this trend has increased the work of retail associates significantly. Besides taking care of cashier duties, customer service and maintenance of display floors, they also need to find, pack and prepare items which are shipped to the address of online shoppers. In order to transform the entire strategy into a success, retailers must deploy advanced technologies such as RFID. By equipping the items with RFID tags at store level and pairing them with readers, retail associates can locate inventory conveniently without much delay, even if the items have been moved by customers or other associates.
Along with RFID solutions, there also has to be deployment of another essential technology, which is the workforce management software. For the management to forecast labour needs accurately and also build appropriate schedules, the implementation of such a software is imperative. Besides that, the management would also have to give proper training to the associates on how orders must be fulfilled. Punctuality is another aspect that will play a great role in the entire strategy.
There are many benefits that multi-channel retailers can reap from the utilisation of RFID solutions and workforce management software:
- The management authority would be able to prepare optimised schedules which take the requirements of the store into account, as well as the proficiencies of the associates at locating, packing and preparing online orders for shipment.
- Regularity of the workers can be monitored closely and addressed in case it becomes a problem for some in the staff. The extra job of fulfilling orders made online would necessitate them to maintain punctuality and be present during their shifts, because online orders can require the products to be immediately packed prior to the arrival of the shipping truck.
- Employees will be trained for making use of RFID readers, handle alerts received from the inventory, print the packing materials properly and prepare products for safe and timely shipping. This training would be trackable by the workforce management system, which means managers can ensure that every shift is attended by those who are supposed to.
A competent labour force is essential to fulfil online orders from store inventory. And the technology of RFID and workforce management can significantly help retailers to ensure the efficiency and productivity of their associates.