Why Retailers Need to Care About Tech Consolidation

If you’re a tradesperson, owning a toolbox with the right tools is essential to getting the job done. Without one, completing a task would take a lot more time and energy. And because you never know what tools you’ll need from one day to the next, having all your gadgets in one place means you’re always prepared, no matter what surprises may occur.

Similarly, frontline retail staff—from store associates to visual merchandisers to managers and team leaders—all need an array of tools to go about completing their daily duties. But despite technological advances, a lot of those devices are woefully outdated, not to mention inefficiently dispersed across multiple platforms and gadgets.

Say you hired a contractor to fix your front door but found out they left half their tools in a junk drawer at home, and the rest were scattered haphazardly inside their truck. On top of that, some of their devices were more than 40 years old, even though new, time-saving advancements were already available at a fraction of the cost. You’d probably have some worries about their ability to do the job properly, and on time, right?

Same goes for retail staff. There’s no doubt they’re being slowed down by jumping from one device or platform to the next to communicate with one another, and that goes for employees at every level of an organization. HQ sends directives to their stores over email, unaware if they’ve been received. When inboxes get clogged, stores ask superiors questions via Whatsapp, text, and over the phone in an attempt to get answers. And when it comes time for HQ to verify in-store compliance, they have to sift through hundreds of photo submissions on intranets and shared drives that have little organizational rhyme or reason to them. It’s a mess, to say the least.

That’s why we created Foko Retail.

With Foko Retail, retailers can consolidate all of their team’s tools—whether they’re related to daily communication, training, data, compliance, or store execution insights—on a single platform that’s easily accessible from any mobile device, tablet, or computer through a safe and secure, user-specific sign-in.

Here’s how Foko Retail can save you time and money by consolidating all of your retail management platforms, tools, and workarounds onto a single platform.

 

Communication

Sending out store directives and ensuring they’ve been met can be a pain.

Currently, it can take numerous communication tools—from old-fashioned phone calls and emails (still one of the primary methods of communication for retailers), to text messages and messaging apps (like WhatsApp and Yammer)—to holistically stay in touch with your team, and their capabilities are often limited outside of basic communication.

Sadly, it’s costing retailers millions of dollars, and they may not even know it.

Improper tech consolidation leads to poor communication, and that breeds chaos in stores. According to RIS, it prevents retailers from earning $3.7 million on average a year due to lost sales opportunities.

Foko Retail streamlines the process, allowing team members across multiple stores, regions, and departments to stay in touch with each other through real-time communication. All your correspondences are kept strictly and privately within your company, and chatting with team members is customizable. So, whether you want to do a simple one-on-one conversation, group chat, or send push notifications and information to every member of your organization, you can do so easily.

“Communication is the grease that drives everything, and if you don’t communicate well you’re not going to execute well,” says Dave Sanborn, Senior Director of Store Operations at Five Below. “We’re not using three or four different tools to accomplish communication, we’re just using one. The efficiency we gain from the home office is tremendous, but the efficiencies we get from the stores are even better because they [have] one place for all of their information.”

 

Document Storage and Sharing

For many retailers, sharing planograms, product guides, training materials, and other information involves employing shared drives or (worse) intranets to disseminate files and documents. Not only are these platforms often hard to navigate, but static (store associates and front-level staff still need other communication methods to send messages back up the chain and verify directives and instructions).

With Foko Retail, documentation can be shared—either directly or with multiple users through group chat and individual channels—and users can communicate in real time if they need clarification or context about what they’re receiving.

With My Docs, Foko Retail can also store all of your team’s documents in one centralized and secure location, completely doing away with the need for shared drives and intranets.

 

“Communication is the grease that drives everything… if you don’t communicate well you’re not going to execute well.”

 

Task Assignment and Store Audits

Assigning tasks and retail audits to team members over email, messaging, or other third-party platforms can be confusing and time-consuming. Not only are you limited in terms of sharing visual directives and creating forms, but verifying compliance (or even finding out if assigned tasks have been received) can be tedious for managers.

Task assignment with our retail execution platform, on the other hand, is a breeze. Forms are completely customizable, meaning managers can shape surveys and forms that fit their needs and review the results and progress in real time directly from their dashboard. Associates can complete them on their phone (keeping employees where it matters most—on the sales floor and out of the back office), and tasks can be automated if they’re going to happen frequently.

“In the past with the communication tools, [store managers] might have to print out 30-to-40-page documents in black and white,” Sanborn says. “Now they literally have a tablet on the sales floor that’s in color with zoom-in capabilities. It’s just common sense that we’re going to improve our execution.”

Users can also mark up images straight in the app, either through touchscreen or mouse, meaning you don’t need Photoshop or any other photo editing software to provide visual feedback. (Task results are also automatically stored and accessible at a later date, so if you’ve been using Dropbox or some other file sharing device to store images from retail audits, you can get rid of that too.)

 

Data Crunching

No more Excel or Google Drive spreadsheets and monotonous data entry. Foko Retail automates data collection, giving admins’ insights on store compliance and execution so they can better assess the overall health of their teams and their ability to carry out directives. And data can be easily exported or shared outside of Foko Retail through an external link if any higher-ups or key stakeholders want to view the findings and information.

 

Training

Considering retail has one of the highest turnover rates of any industry, retailers and brands need software in place to share training documents, teach staff best practices, and communicate key goals effectively and efficiently. A lot of times they end up relying on gamified platforms that attempt to boost engagement through badges, points, and leaderboards that make tedious tasks a little less mind-numbing.

Foko Retail does away with the gimmicks, allowing managers to communicate directly with staff, either through company and region-specific best practice and training channels that emphasize brand consistent rules, or one-on-one conversations and surveys that open up the lines of communication and test skills.

 


 

You don’t need tons of platforms and devices to manage and monitor in-store execution and compliance.

Find out why Foko Retail is the all-in-one retail management platform trusted by Nike, Whole Foods, Club Monaco and more by scheduling a demo. Simply click on the button below, or shoot an email to our Customer Success team at customer@fokoretail.com.