How Automation Can Help Your Retail Business

A city overrun with robots might be the stuff of science fiction dystopias, but there is more to automation than the robot revolution. The automation technologies being used in retail today are much more subtle and friendly. From touch screen menus and self-service checkout lanes to driverless forklifts and floor cleaners, automated technology has a lot to offer your retail business. Here are four benefits your store can reap from automation.

Lower Costs

Replacing employees with automation is an obvious way to lower your operating costs. After all, machines have no need for a salary, benefits or sick days. This is a great benefit to very small businesses that struggle to afford expenses like unemployment and health insurance. You also spend less money on your human resources department and waste less time dealing with staff conflicts.

Improve Customer Experience

The conventional wisdom is that humans are more helpful than technology, so it might seem counterintuitive that automation provides a better customer service experience. However, automation increases speed and convenience. Self-checkouts make lines shorter, automated customer service calls reduce wait time and menu kiosks take orders more accurately. Consider offering the option of a human assistant for those who have more complicated issues or special needs.

Streamline Departments

A great benefit of small business automation is the ability to streamline your company. Peripheral departments like accounting and human resources are often an expensive burden for small companies, but automated systems can fully or partially perform their duties at a fraction of the cost. Consider using a computer system to keep track of routine bookkeeping, scheduling and payroll.

Increase Efficiency

Retail employees often waste a lot of time on boring, tedious tasks like tracking inventory. However, many stores and warehouses are using technology to scan shelves and keep track of stock. This technology not only allows employees to use their time on more productive tasks but also gets product replaced on shelves faster. Maintaining fully stocked shelves can even increase your profits because many customers skip out on a purchase if the product isnt immediately available.

While some business owners are concerned that choosing technology over people is bad for society, these fears may be unfounded. There may be fewer menial labor jobs in an automated world, but an increase in the skilled jobs required to build and maintain machines makes up for it. Automation is also an effective way to fill staffing gaps when unemployment is low.

 

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