Ensuring that retail store management and employees are on the same page regarding promotions and operations compliance can be a challenging process.
First, there are general inefficiencies due to traditional methods of store communications - largely consisting of emailed correspondence with no formalized approval process. And second, there is a general lack of program visibility and measurement resulting in lower accountability that can lead to program compliance failure, despite the best intentions of the key stakeholders that make up the overall retail operations team.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at how collaborative work management can significantly reduce store communication process inefficiencies and increase team accountability.
Top 4 Critical Challenges with Store Communications
Let’s start by exploring the top challenges and root causes driving inefficiencies in store communications:
- Challenge #1 - Scalability: Store communications teams transmit thousands of communiques on an annual basis. The ability to manage these programs at scale without systemic failures is critical.
- Challenge #2 - Tracking: Most store communication processes consist of workflows for creation and production, design and posting logistics, review and approval, and general editorial calendar management. With all these workflows in play, tracking the status of each communication and quickly identifying and eliminating potential “blockers” is foundational to an effective communication process.
- Challenge #3 - Automation: For effective communication approval processing, the ability to support automated sign off’s for key tasks and teams is important to not create stopgaps in workflow. Further, it is critical to provide an escalation process based on communication priority.
- Challenge #4 - Reporting: It’s important to be able to view status and measure program success to determine whether you will hit your goals. A high-level, executive look at key details enables leadership to make high-quality, better informed decisions based on a quick review of current and upcoming communications.
And up to this point, retail companies have typically used manual tools and processes with Excel and email to achieve these important functions. Alternatively, implementing expensive communication program tracking systems that require significant IT support and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars is not an optimal solution either.
So, is there a better way to balance users’ need for flexible store communication processing, yet still support management’s need for control, consistency, and real-time visibility?
The Solution: Store Communications via Collaborative Work Management
Today, leading retail communication managers are leveraging new approaches to work management automation. This new collaborative work management approach balances the need for flexibility and ease of use in retail operations with the needed control and standardization required for program visibility. How does that apply to store communications?
Let’s break down the four key requirements surrounding collaborative work management that you should consider to realize savings similar to the ones stated above:
- Consistent Processes: Every communication piece must have a consistent process ranging from the intake request, creative and production, approval, and implementation. Consistency is important to store communications because it ensures visibility and transparency while providing the necessary checks and balances for a smooth running program.
- Context-Aware Automation: Automating the communications approval process varies from organization to organization, so contextually aware automation is vital to meet the needs of your business. A collaborative work management solution can help streamline these approvals with comprehensive and rich, rule-based automation.
- Real-Time Visibility: Individual campaign reporting and dashboards are vital to understanding where blockers exist at a campaign level for program and project managers. Being able to identify these blockers as soon they occur (or even before!) assures your organization that timely decisions can be made and any potential disruption to your communications will be mitigated.
- Improved User Adoption: Empowering your users with an easy-to-use platform that allows them to configure their communication processes results in higher user adoption, better program execution, and faster time to value for your communication investment.
Bottom line, collaborative work management for store communications delivers business value by mitigating risks associated with manual processes, while ensuring corporate program compliance. The results are better informed and compliant store workers, enhanced in-store customer experience, and an auditable system of store communications.
To learn more about collaborative work management and related retail operations solutions, visit our Retail Solutions Center or contact us below.