In the retail industry, information notoriously follows a top down structure, and the culture tends to revolve around command and control. From managers to store representatives, employees often lack resources to share ideas and communicate amongst peers through structured, collaborative channels.
These issues often make it difficult to capture and replicate innovative practices or empower employees with access to the right information at the right time. According to AT Kearney, “ managers spend more time on administration than on interacting with customers, coaching staff and looking at the condition of their stores - combined.”
In the retail industry, branding is prominent and all about consistency and differentiation - items are arranged in a specific pattern, new rollouts occur simultaneously, and associates engage with customers in a consistent or unique manner. However, there is a surprising lack of retail technology tools that facilitate open, real-time communication within the organization.
Collaborative, cloud-based tools like G Suite are making a massive impact on the retail industry in helping to re-engage the workforce and drive innovation. Below are five real-world examples* of how leading retail businesses are growing revenue, reducing costs, improving operational efficiency and bringing ideas to market faster with G Suite.
1. Designing and Bringing Products to Market Faster
Astley Clarke, a luxury jewelry brand with strong worldwide influence, uses G Suite to refine ideas and designs as they grow from inspiration to product. Astley Clarke is using G Suite to foster a collaborative, fast-paced environment by providing team members with tools that allow them to communicate anywhere, on any device.
Employees traveling around the world to explore new jewelry materials and design inspiration can use Google Hangouts to share their findings with the team while they’re on-the-go.
The marketing team as well as creative agencies, resellers and other vendors can stay on the same page and move processes forward by using Google Drive as a central hub for information. Teams can record anything from notes to proposals in Google Docs to share and collaborate in real-time with coworkers or partners.
Watch the below video to see a few ways Astley Clarke is redefining product development strategies with G Suite:
2. Empowering Store Associates for Better Customer Service
Design Within Reach was one of the leaders and innovators in bringing design-quality furniture to the general public. When the rest of the market caught up and competition increased, Design Within Reach was challenged to differentiate its unique engagement with its customers. The team decided to implement Google Apps to help provide information transparency and provide a consistent experience across every location.
Design Within Reach uses Google Docs to build its monthly design outline, Google Sheets to share inventory lists and Google Calendar to manage promotion schedules. Store associates always have access to the latest product information on any device, so they have what they need to answer any question from a client no matter where they are.
“We want to be more nimble,” they stated. “We want to be faster. Google Apps allows us to be closer to the customer."
3. Innovation with Digital Signage
Chico’s chose Chromeboxes to increase the immediacy and relevance of the in-store experience. The affordability and ease of management of Chromeboxes allows Chico’s to tailor digital signage to each city, store or even a specific department.
Chico’s vision when it comes to innovation in digital signage is all about engagement through relevance. Chico’s FAS stores are now leveraging Chromeboxes to personalize the shopping experience and engage with new market segments. According to Chico’s, “millennials are 216% more likely to be influenced by in-store touch screen displays.”
4. Managing Store Operation Processes
Celio’s, a French men’s retailer with over 1,000 locations across Europe, Russia, India and Asia, is using Google Forms to process sales data from around the world - a process that used to take over 4,000 calls a day to collect.
The data automatically flows into Google Sheets and is turned into dynamic graphs, providing executives with instant, accurate and up-to-date business insights. These insights can be securely shared with headquarters, stores and distribution centers to help them better plan for success and save time by avoiding issues such as understocking.
According to Celio’s, “Google Apps has enabled us to communicate more easily and quickly, and to be closer to our teams worldwide and in each store.”
Google Hangouts is also used often to streamline communication and videoconferencing between locations and subsidiaries internationally.
5. Recruiting, Interviewing and Onboarding Quickly
EAT, a popular fresh food retailer, has found that Google Cloud is particularly valuable for its HR department. EAT uses Google Sites to give its employees an easy-to-use site that acts as a central hub of information where they can find all the training and support materials they need.
With retailers maintaining a higher than average turnover rate, reducing friction in the onboarding process creates incredible value. The HR department can also use Google Hangouts to conduct employee interviews anywhere in the world, reducing the overall cost of hiring. Google Forms is used in the application process or to collect new hire information, saving time and making sure all the information is available and easy to share.
SADA Systems is a Google Cloud Premier Partner and one of the first 10 G Suite Partners worldwide. With deep expertise and a large base of retail clients, SADA Systems has proven expertise in enterprise consulting, cloud platform migration, custom application development, managed services, user adoption and change management. Visit our website to learn more about G Suite.
To learn more about the business value of G Suite, click below to download the study by Forrester Research: “The Total Economic Impact of G Suite”.
*Examples sourced by Google Cloud