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How Covid Is Impacting The Retail Sector Globally

 

The Covid-19 pandemic is impacting the retail sector unlike any other public health crisis in the 21st century. It cost millions of people their lives, jobs and loved ones. This highly infectious virus spread from person to person even if asymptomatic. We weren’t prepared for the changes that came. like many other sectors, the pandemic badly affected the retail sector. Retail stores across infected cities were the first to feel the burn. Only essential service providers stayed open during this time.

Temporary Closure of Non-essential Stores 

Non-essential retailers sell electronics, fashion accessories, and anything that isn’t food or medicine. To limit person-to-person contact, the government imposed the first lockdown which forced all these non essential stores to shut down temporarily. This was to ensure the safety of customers, staff, and small business owners. After that, until the first wave, all stores stayed closed. 

The lockdown of retail stores hit businesses and employees hard as it caused a recession in most parts of the world. Unemployment hit a new high as United States alone accounted for about 1.9 million unemployed workers. 1.1 million of these were only temporary layoffs while the rest lost their jobs permanently and had to search for alternative sources of income. For months retailers paid to keep and maintain their stores without any profit at all, but eventually even if retailers understood why the government had to lockdown, they couldn’t keep paying the bills. 

Several business owners across the globe ran through their savings and were unable to reopen after the first lockdown ended. Some who managed to survive the first lockdown could not reopen their businesses after the second one. 

After losing their primary sources of income, some entrepreneurs had no choice but to file for unemployment. Businesses also filed for bankruptcy in 2020 more than any other year since the great recession. Thankfully, the unemployment policy has been adjusted in light of the coronavirus pandemic. As long as you’re unable to make sufficient income as a direct result of the pandemic, you can apply for the current unemployment benefits in the US. 

Retailers Of Essential Services Kept Their Doors Open 

Sellers of food, medicines, toiletries, and other essential household items remained open throughout the pandemic. However, they had to make adjustments to protect their workers and customers. Many stores that didn’t have e-commerce websites created online stores where customers could place orders. They also initiated contactless doorstep delivery. With this kind of delivery, drivers have little to no contact with the customers. They knock, drop the order, stand at a distance, and wait for the customer to pick it up before they drive away. 

Since the pandemic, automated delivery is another popular trend that’s taking over retail.  Some retail companies have been using unmanned drones to deliver food items like pizza and chicken and even delivering medical supplies. These drones have an inbuilt GPS system to navigate their routes. These retail companies take their orders from clients online, insert their delivery details on the computer and send the drone to the venue. The drone driver will control it from their  offices or home depending on the company. 

Despite all the changes these retailers have made, the virus is still spreading like wildfire. At the time of writing, about 96.2 million people across the globe have had confirmed cases of the coronavirus. More than 2 million people have died.  Coronavirus pandemic completely wiped out some families, children have become orphans, and parents have lost their children. To combat the pandemic, vaccines are now starting to circulate among many, but many questions still remain about their efficacy and safety.

Bottomline

While things are still uncertain, not everything should be left at the mercy of the present. The retail sector has been working in partnership with the tech industry to make things better for their customers. Covid 19 showed us that no matter how established or well grounded a business, they aren’t as future proof as they seem to be. There is a need to have a better plan both for today and uncertain tomorrow. 

The first step isn’t as far fetched; it’s more about the things happening today! This is what’s happening: operations that run on a daily basis right now have no transparency. It’s difficult for managers to keep track of every schedule and progress of tasks. It all adds up to more delays; delays to clear confusion with tasks, delays to resolve issues, delays to know if issues are being resolved and the list goes on.  

Wouldn’t it help to eliminate these delays? With PAZO, it’s possible without any extra tools! Everyone from head managers to the in-store staff just use their mobile to implement, execute and ensure tasks are completed in time. It’s a perfect tool for managers as they can get things done in real time and raise issues when needed. Our clients use it daily to bridge the gap between the head office and their in-store staff.

PAZO gives our client retailers more visibility, control over their operations. Today as a result, it is possible for them to adapt to the present and run daily retail tasks with less resources. Use PAZO if you too wish to take your retail operations to the next level.

If you’re looking for a job, you can pick up a good tech skill from the comfort of your home. With a few tech courses on websites like Bootcamprankings.com or Computersciencehero.com, you can increase your chances of getting a position in the retail sector or any sector for that matter. 

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Pazo Insights

5 Tips to Become a Better Retail Manager in 2021



As brick-and-mortar stores start to reopen all over the country, an immense amount of pressure is put on retail managers to lead their teams to success ⁠— especially with the challenges brought about by the health crisis. Indeed, U.S. retail sales are on a continuous downward trend, so managers need to change their approach to fit the current and future consumer landscape. Retail stores have evolved from exclusively transactional spaces to in-person experiences that are representative of a brand’s vision, values, and principles. As such, retail managers have to step up and find ways to help direct the business to success.

With that said, we’ve listed five tips that can help you become a better retail manager in 2021.

Build a Strong Company Culture

Establishing a strong bond and relationship between your team members plays a large part in directing the whole organization to success. So, you should strive to build a strong company culture that motivates your employees to perform their best at work and collaborate effectively. One way to do this is by making sure that you emphasize employee wellness through tools, resources, and on-site healthcare opportunities. In addition, you should also foster social connections through simple team building programs such as weekly team meals, game nights, or even after-work happy hours.

Encourage Open Communication

By encouraging open communication in your workplace, you allow your teams to directly discuss with you any concerns, feedback, or opinions that can help your organization achieve success. During staff meetings, introduce a segment where your retail employees can reveal any issues, insights, or industry updates that might be of use to the management. Additionally, you can also invest in a mobile workforce app that allows your frontline employees to directly connect with anyone from your organization. This nurtures open communication between teams, departments, and branches, which will allow your whole retail organization to stay on the same page and be in sync.

Pursue Upskilling Opportunities

If you feel like there’s a certain skill or knowledge needed in retail management that you lack proficiency in, it might be time to look at upskilling opportunities. Indeed, a Udemy survey notes that at least 84% of U.S. workers think that there is a skills gap which needs to be solved by supplemental education and career advancement opportunities.

As a business manager, you can choose to go down the academic route and get yourself an online bachelor’s degree in business administration, where you can learn new technologies and strategies to help you better manage your team. The great thing about online degrees is that you can simultaneously work to complete them while still keeping a full-time job. In retail, managers can work towards executive positions with median salaries around the $99,310 mark in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Aside from that, having an online business administration degree can also help you become a more well-rounded manager, as today’s universities include finance, human resources, and analytics topics in their business administration curriculum. Moreover, if you feel like you need to improve your communication skills, you can opt for online communication degrees and workshops that teach you the most effective and efficient ways to command your team.

Delegate Tasks Wisely

As a manager, you have to be smart when it comes to handling your staff’s strengths. By delegating the right tasks to the right person, you can significantly improve the efficiency of your retail organization. So, be sure to review an employee’s resume and find what they excel in. This ensures that you won’t get overwhelmed with brainstorming sessions, inventory management, and other important retail ventures. Additionally, it’s also crucial that you strategize and plan when it comes to assignments, as you don’t want your employees to over or under-work.

Utilize Reliable Forecasts

The thing with retail is that there are data-driven insights and analytics that can significantly improve how you handle your teams, business strategy, and marketing approach. Even information as simple as the revenue generated by each department can already provide you with learnings on how to enhance your organization’s value. To utilize the data generated by your store and workforce more effectively, be sure to consult data analysts and scientists who have the know-how for using programs that produce reliable forecasts for the betterment of your organization.

Submitted by Ruth Jeanne



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Pazo Insights

Optimizing the Retail Opportunity in Covid-19 pandemic

Navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging time for most industries, including retail has witnessed the impact of COVID-19 over the past few months. The widespread health and safety concerns, travel restrictions and local movement limitations, retailers in India started feeling the heat.

During this period, retailers are looking to change their current working strategies to generate revenue as usual without deploying more manpower in order to abide by the government guidelines.

Even the Retailers Association of India (RAI) has predicted that it would take at least 10-12 months for India’s retail industry to recover from the impact of the COVID-19. Their recent survey for June 2020 shows that Retail employs ~40-50 million people directly of which the Modern Trade sector employs more than 6 million Indians. This staggering number of retail employees has forced 20-25% of the industry players to require a capital infusion to stay afloat. But even then, 25% of jobs in the industry may get impacted in one way or another.

Only 7-8% of the retail industry is functioning at the moment, as the retailers are selling only essential items, said Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, RAI, which represents 13,667 member establishments with 500,000 stores employing 43 million people.

Although the country slowly relaxing the lockdown regulations on a monthly basis with precautionary measures, only 20% of the retailers are expecting to start earning profit from August 2020.

But the real question for retailers is whether they can flexibly respond to the diametrically opposed challenges?

Well, it is clear that the response to this virus has fundamentally changed the reality for retailers irrespective of whether it lasts for weeks or months. It’s time to face the fact and start adapting the best practices and innovations.

Best Practices for Retail during the COVID-19 Pandemic

1.    Stay informed and manage employee safety

Update your employees regularly on the current COVID-19 situation and take all the necessary precautions to ensure that the health and safety of the workforce are not compromised.

  • Check for symptoms associated with COVID-19
  • If an employee feels unwell, ask them to go home immediately
  • Ensure that safety measures like the following are in place to reduce transmission among employees: –

1. Practice social distancing

2. Have regular temperature checks for everyone in the workplace

3. Wearing a mask and gloves at all times is mandatory

4. Employees in high-risk areas like billing counters, customer assistance, etc. should be provided and equipped with face shields at all times.

It is recommended to share easy to fill operational checklists like the PAZO COVID-19 Checklist to measure the understanding of the operations being relayed to your employees from the headquarters in real-time. Using operational solutions like PAZO – Retail Operations Software, the data collected from these checklists across all retail branches get collated automatically to generate reports you can rely on and make successful business strategies.

Check out the full COVID-19 preparedness Checklist ready to be implemented.

2.   Be transparent

Your customers trust you and want to stay informed on everything that is happening and will affect their experience. And so, do your employees. Keep them informed at all times – for example, if there is a change in any operation from the headquarters, or a new business process is being implemented with the current safety guidelines in mind, etc.

See how PAZO can help your business to stay well connected and updated during the COVID-19 Crisis.

3.   Personal Hygiene for Employees
  • Emphasize on hand hygiene during work hours
  • Encourage the use of gloves to avoid direct contact
  • Ensure their daily self-hygiene so as not to compromise the workforce
  • Educate them on the proper way to dispose of their masks, tissues, and gloves

Solution for Manpower Rationalization

Going forward, small scale retailers are looking to lay-off 30% of their manpower while it reflects for the medium retailers as 12% and 5% for large retailers. When nearly 20% of the overall retail manpower faces the possibility of unemployment – Retail operational solution (such as Retail Operations Software) tools like PAZO helps to rebuild the changing scenario. With low operational costs, it’s easy to adapt for retailers small to large.

3 Steps for Retailers to Respond during COVID-19 with PAZO 

As the contributors for 40% of India’s consumption and ~10% to India’s GDP, all retailers play a crucial role in protecting employee and customer health. In helping retails to adapt to smarter solutions and cope with large scale loss of manpower, companies like PAZO are developing following practical solutions that will shape the recovery and strengthening of a staggering economy.

  • Employee safety is the first priority. Ensure that all necessary steps are taken to keep the frontline store employees safe and healthy, as they attend to customers.

The PAZO can be used to host communication modules that educate all personnel about the safety precautions taken for the health of both employees and the customers.

  • Supply-chain resilience is the next important step. Disruption to the supply chain had a great impact on the industry. Build resilience by being agile, leverage extended ecosystems, and embrace risk for holistic revival and sustenance.

PAZO comes with an inventory update system that helps analyze real-time data so that there is a clear insight into business operations.

  • The third step is to enable an elastic digital workplace that minimizes business disruption. With a reduced workforce, retailers have to be more efficient than ever in making sure all crucial management tasks are completed.

PAZO also comes with the feature of raising issues to the right resources and having the accountability of resolving it within the expected time.

To achieve ultimate retail success during uncertain times, retailers have to adapt business models to complement the changing consumer behavior. Implementing advanced technology like retail operation software can be beneficial even when the pandemic has passed. It is time for Responsible Retail.

Incorporating technological solutions such as checklists to manage the logistical and workforce front can ensure that the customers follow social distancing, occupancy limits, and other safety and hygiene regulations as outlined by the government. Merging this with dynamic store navigation, mobile checkout, offering a wide variety of online payment options, and monitoring traffic into their store operations strategy can serve as valuable post-pandemic store operations tools.

Check out how PAZO can make retail operations more efficient

The COVID-19 situation is complex and evolving at lightning speed, and on a daily basis. Having a well-managed response will help retailers bring in some consistency in operations and maximize their revenues. Retailers should see this as an opportunity to out-perform competitors and build a strong foundation for digital, future-ready business.

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Stock Management | Ideas to Implement in Your Retail Store

Stock Management / Inventory Management

Stock management is the practice of tracking and controlling inventory. The main goal is to monitor and control the goods and stock so that new stock can be ordered as required to maintain the right numbers and quantities at all times.

To effectively control the stocks, proper stock management software may be required. With this, organizations may save costs associated with human errors. Stock management applies to every item a business uses to produce its products or services.

A stock management software will give a structured method of accounting for all incoming and outgoing inventory which will have a great impact on your business.

With Pazo’s Stock Room Management feature you can easily:-

– Retail inventory management on the Pazo Web and App.

– Track your inward and outward stock count.

– Download complete day-wise and site-wise reports.

Here are a few points on how it can help your business

  1. You can keep track of your stock in real-time 
  2. Analyze stock data any time and anywhere
  3. Plan the demand accurately with the available data 
  4. Avoid the shortage of stock
  5. Prevent excess storage of stock
  6. Manage stocks of multiple locations 
  7. Reduce the cost of management

Stock Room Management Best Practices:

Below mentioned are the details on how to manage the Stock Room on the Pazo Web App?

  • Stocks can be updated on a newly introduced stock room management page which can be found in the setup menu, the user is given an option to add stocks one by one or through bulk upload.

Stock Management

  • A mail trigger is auto-added on reorder quantity of stock item(s) i.e. when a reordered quantity goes below the specified limit, an auto-generated mail will be triggered to Site Admin(s) & Super Admin with the stock count when permissions are set. An email will be sent to the user on a daily basis until the stock is refilled.

Stock Management

  • Consolidated excel reports of the stock room can be downloaded by selecting the site and date. The downloaded report will display date wise consumption for all stock items.

how to maintain stock in excel sheet format

  • Users with “field user permissions” can perform Stock Inward & Outward operations from the Mobile App

How to update stock count on Pazo Mobile App?

  • Users with “field user permissions” can do a Stock Inward or Outward through Mobile App once a Stock Item has been added through WebApp
  • To manage stock, Click (+) icon on-site dashboard, visit a stock room and scan a location QR code from mobile app to perform an Inward or Outward operation of the stock.

Stock management

  • When a Location is scanned, the user can view the list of items and their availability in that Stock Room.

  • Users can do an Inward or Outward of the stock items from a StockRoom- Inward will allow users to add a quantity of an Item and Outward will allow users to subtract the quantity from the available stock.

Stockroom management

Have a look at the “Conditional logic in Checklists” Feature and let us know your thought in the comments below.

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Conditional Logic in Checklist and How to Use Them ?

Conditional Logic

Conditional logic is a standardized procedure to simply flows. By setting rules for your processes and updating the outcome based on selected conditions, it is easy to simplify the complicated list. When the condition is triggered all optional tasks can be automatically hidden and show up only tasks that matched the condition.

In our checklist, we have introduced conditional logic to create truly dynamic checklists based on the logic of “if one of” and “if not one of”.

There is no limitation for adding sub-questions and multiple conditions can be applied for the main question.

Responsive checklists are more powerful. You can create multiple conditional logic rules and create a flow to control how exactly the branch of the question/answer to be set.

Conditional logic makes viewing and selecting the form are easier.

How to set up conditional logic on the Pazo web app?

User(s) can choose from the following conditions while applying logic to a question (Single Select or Drop-down type) within a checklist. There are two logical conditions that can be set:

    • Is One of- means if any of the conditions are TRUE, then sub-questions will appear on checklist submission.
    • Is not One of- means if any other options are chosen apart from the given set of options, then sub-questions will appear on checklist submission

For Example, let’s assume that the main question has the following list of answer options, Option 1, Option 2, Option 3, and Option 4 and we add the logic of “is one of” to Option 1 and Option 3, it will expand the branch for sub-questions then if the user selects the option 1 in the question, a branch of sub-question will be opened since it met the condition. The same way it works for the other conditional logic if set.

Conditional Logic

  • There is no limitation for adding sub-questions i.e. user can add any number of sub-questions for 1 main question
  • Multiple conditions can be applied for 1 main question

Note: – The condition can only be applied to the main question.

  • The Checklist report will also include the details of the sub-question. If the sub-questions are left unanswered then the cell will be blank

Mobile APP:

When submitting your checklist, if a condition is TRUE, only then the sub-questions will appear on the Checklist Submit screen to answer.

Check out “Stock Management and Ideas to Implement in Your Retail Store” and let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

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It’s Time We Take The Deskless Workforce Seriously

Behind every successful industry,  are numerous deskless workforce that drive the operations forward.  Not everybody around the globe sits at a workstation completing a 9-5 job.

The vast majority of working individuals fit into this category which in fact is, as per official figures, about 80% of the total workforce!

These deskless workers work in  varied environments unlike fixed desk workers who generally have a fixed schedule and clear understanding of the standard operating procedures that they are required to do. And that’s why fixed standard operating procedure checklists alone don’t help then get the job done.

Anyone working with deskless workers would know that they have their own frustrations that prevent them to fully engage in their work and official figures convey the same story.  Research shows that in the US, only 56% of the deskless workers feel connected and engaged to their work. The number could be much higher depending on where you come from but it’s more or less the same scenario.

What constitues a Deskless Workforce?

There are 2.7 billion people across various industries from hospitality to facilities to healthcare who work on their feet. They do not have a fixed desk to work and may frequently be on the move inside workplace premises or between different geographical locations.

“The mobile workers (a.k.a the deskless workforce) make up most of the industries’ workforce and it’s high time to provide them with digital support to improve how businesses grow”

says Hasan Ali Kanba, Co-founder of Pazo. “Although the business technology market is a $300 billion one,  deskless tech solutions are not given as much importance.

And that’s one of the reasons why In Spite of their huge growing numbers, they face the most unique challenges. Official figures show that only $3 billion of the $300 billion business technology market is invested in deskless technology A direct consequence to this is that organizations still face a disconnect in optimizing their routine operations even though there has been quite a lot of advancement in digital transformation across all the industries. With so much advancement in technology, now is the time for more innovative solutions tailored to provide enough support to deskless employees to complete their daily tasks more efficiently.

A good start to this could be a task management tool tailored for the deskless workers. Due to the nature of their roles, it would be really helpful for the deskless workers to have the task management software on their mobile devices. Even more so because they are usually disconnected from the rest of the teams at the head-office level. By giving them access to an application where they can easily communicate and collaborate with their teams will not only make operations more efficient but also create a positive work culture.

“PAZO is a task management tool that has the fundamental features tailored for the deskless workforce. We aim to empower the field teams to revolutionize their businesses,”

says Sharjeel, Co-founder and CTO of Pazo.

As 80% of the entire world’s workforce are those who are actively on the move, it only makes sense to invest in them. Their numbers  will only keep increasing as the days go by and the value of deskless software has indisputable potential that today is mostly untapped. Deskless technology also has an internal impact on employees and organizations; providing a permanent solution that is easy-to-use enhances productivity levels and happier employees  resulting in higher retention rates of both employees and the customers.

So how does  a deskless tech solution help?

Here are three ways it can proactively improve the world around us:
  • Communication: Employees can ensure clear and effective communication between departments at individual sites and the head office. With everyone being in the loop, coordinating task assignment and completion, surveys, feedback, and compliance across all branches becomes easy
  • Execution: By equipping your staff with the right task management tool, they work smarter and with more efficiency. It becomes easier to assign tasks, monitor completion times, and increase accountability. 
  • Insights: Getting real-time insights on operations at every site, on a personalized dashboard ensures visibility and consistency. Having software that provides you with up-to-the-minute data helps you know how individual sites are performing and reduce issues and resolution times.

And  there are more added benefits; introducing such new easier ways to work will directly impact your operational excellence.Yes, initially, you need to rely on data and metrics while implementing new technology but the pros outweigh the cons here.

Tools like PAZO task management software give you operational excellence by maximizing productivity and the visibility needed to execute tasks properly. PAZO can be used for a variety of industries. The retail industry for instance uses it for compliance audits, stock audit checklists, daily store checklists, housekeeping checklists, visual merchandising, safety audit checklists and much more. So that’s every type of store audit or checklist filling tasks that you can think of. So that is how our client industries impacted their productivity. They now set the operation standards down to every task and get them done with even great efficiency and less effort. It all started with an initiative to invest in  a new deskless workforce tool which they now find immensely useful.

Also Read:

The Impact Of The Deskless Workforce In The Future Of Businesses

Emerging Trends in the Facility Management Sector

Difference Between a Deskless Workforce, Mobile Workforce, Telecommuting, and Remote Work?