Retail store owners and mom-and-pop shops all over the word are steadily introducing retail automation tools and software into their brick-and-mortar businesses. The benefits are just too irresistible. Whether you’re a bootstrapped SaaS company or a B2B business, automating parts of your small business can literally save hours of work each day for store owners and thousands of dollars a month in wasted expenses.
The trick to all this is for store owners to not feel overwhelmed. It’s easier than it sounds, and if technology just isn’t your thing, that’s ok. There are plenty of IT consultants who can pop into your store to help automate your retail store.
To get started, let’s review 10 basic examples of ways to automate your retail store.
1. Automated Document Processing
Store owners are literally saving hours and hours of manual labor every week by automating document processing in their stores. Instead of manually processing documents like invoices and purchase orders, store owners are turning to software like Docparser.com to automate the entire workflow of processing documents into safe, digital data for the future.
Retail shop owners are also using tools like Docparser to process and digitize years and years of old documents and records into structured, organized online data that they can easily access.
2. Automate Your Store Security
Retail shop owners are also using do-it-yourself, automated security systems like Ring.com to monitor their store locations from anywhere in the world, and to alert authorities the moment a problem occurs.
Whether a window shatters, smoke fills the air or an unauthorized door is opened, Ring alarms automatically go off and instantly send alerts to you and the authorities.
Security systems like Ring also automatically help retail store owners monitor when an authorized employee opens the store in the morning and close it at night, letting you sit back and relax, stress free.
3. Automate Email Campaigns
Automatically engage with new and old customers by sending automated emails. When you get a new customer in the store, add their email address to email marketing automation software like ConstantContact.com and automatically send them a welcome email with a discount for the next time they shop with you.
In addition, think about other ways to automate your email marketing like automatically sending emails out to your email list on birthdays and holidays without lifting a finger. Just set it and forget it.
4. Automate Inventory Management
Your in-store inventory, online inventory and PoS system should all be integrated. More importantly, when goods you carry in-store are running low on inventory, software like ShopKeep.com will automatically send you an alert and automatically order new inventory.
5. Automate Website Chat Support
Many retail store owners can’t sit around managing support questions on their website. Instead they’re automating the process of answering simple questions with chatbots, like the ones ManyChat.com offers. Chatbots immediately answer customers’ frequently asked questions about hours, directions and more, allowing businesses to provide 24/7 support.
6. Automated Website Store Directions
Retail store owners often get asked the same questions over the phone over and over again, like, “Can I have directions to your store?” or “Do you have any more store locations?”
Software like Storemapper.com automatically answers their question for you, and it also gives website visitors directions to your store using Google Maps.
Just add your store locations and embed your store locator right on your website. It takes literally minutes to set this up.
7. Automate Website Contact Form Responses
One of the quickest ways to lose a customer is by not responding quickly to questions. Unfortunately, you don’t have time to monitor your email all day. Almost all email platforms like gmail.com, AOL, and Yahoo have a free features that let you automatically respond to all emails with an automated message that includes information like hours, directions and ways to get immediate help.
8. Task and Process Automated Reminders
It’s not easy managing employees and managing your retail shop duties. So, put many of your management duties on autopilot means you can focus on your business.
Tools like Process Street automate the process of reminding employees to do tasks, and just as important, they also make sure your employees complete tasks the right way.
Use Process Street to remind employees to clean the bathroom each day, to automatically walk them through the store closing process, how to open the store each morning and much more.
9. Automate Temperature Control
Automate the temperature in your store with devices like Ecobee.com. Even better, save yourself thousands of dollars by automatically turning the heat down at night and turning it back up at the perfect time before the store opens.
Just set it once and forget it!
10. Automate Your Payroll
Companies like SurePayroll make it easy to setup your company payroll once and then turn on autopilot. Automatically collect your necessary payroll data from you employees, automatically pay them on time and automatically send them tax forms like W2s or 1099s.
BONUS: Event Management
When a big sales event, promotion or party is coming up, put 80% of the event management on autopilot with tools like Facebook Events.
Facebook events will send reminders, and collect invite request info like Yes, No and Maybe so you can plan accordingly.
Remember the trick to automating your store is not to feel overwhelmed. Just take it step by step, and if it’s too much to think about right now, talk to an online IT consultant. They’re easy to find, and can set up all of these automation tasks for you. Bookmark this post, and you can even use it to get a quote from a professional in your area.