As a retailer, you have to do whatever possible to keep your finances afloat. Especially since many major retail companies are sinking faster than the Titanic.
E-commerce is causing a ruckus in the retail industry, but there are ways you can keep your head above the water. One way to go about this is to lighten the load of your ship.
For example, you can toss all of your paper process overboard. Sounds a bit scary if you’re still using a predominantly paper-based retail store.
But not to worry. We’re going to show you how you can cut costs, provide a better customer experience and even increase your revenue in doing so.
Let’s take a closer look at what you can do to grow your retail shop in 2019 with paperless operations.
Forgo Paper Receipts and Switch to Digital
It’s already been found that retailers witnessed profits just by switching over to paperless receipts. But besides helping your bank account, you’re also saving trees.
It’s found that it takes 250 million gallons of oil, 10 million trees, and a billion gallons of water to create enough receipts for US businesses annually.
And it’s no better across seas – in the UK, 11 billion receipts are printed each year.
Imagine if every retailer in America and the UK went paperless? The earth would be a lot happier.
But how can you go paperless with your receipts?
By digitizing them, of course.
Now, you may want to take it a step further by creating an entire digital checkout experience. You can do this by implementing mobile checkouts.
Stores like Nordstrom are already doing this with handheld devices. This enables shoppers to perform a transaction on the spot. Then the device prints out a receipt – or even better, it sends a digital one.
Consumers today are growing accustomed to shopping online where it’s easy to shop and purchase items quickly. With digital checkouts and receipts, you eliminate long lines and speed up the purchasing process.
Contactless pay is growing in popularity all around the world. It’s been estimated that in the U.K, 20% of purchases are done using contactless cards.
You can find a lot of people now carrying contactless chip cards in America as well.
But if this isn’t the route you want to take, then consider the mobile payment option. This will allow users to pay using their mobile device, such as Apple, Android, and Samsung, which all offer mobile wallets.
These are already growing exponentially around the world.
Conduct Digital Inspections
You wouldn’t consider retail businesses as unsafe workspaces, however, if safety measures aren’t followed, accidents can ensue.
This is why the state, federal, and county inspectors audit retail shops for a variety of safety hazards. For example, you’re required to maintain a retail store that contains good ergonomics, fire prevention, walkway and corridor accessibility, and electrical safety.
If any of these areas don’t pass an inspection, then you could face fines or store closure until you meet all the requirements.
One way to prevent this is to equip your workers with mobile inspection apps. This empowers your employees to actively find safety issues while reducing the need for paper.
With the app, they’re able to view the safety checklist on their mobile device. They can run checks throughout the property to ensure everything’s in line. Then whenever the inspector comes, you have a higher chance of passing the inspection.
Also, using a mobile app will create a digital trail. This way, you can see when inspections were taken and what items require improvement immediately.
Communicate with Workers Virtually
This is already common in most businesses today, which use email and text messaging to communicate with team members. However, if you’re still handing out paper notices, timesheets, and the like, then you’re wasting paper and money.
There are various apps out there your employees and managers can download for this purpose. For example, you can use an app to manage work schedules, rostering, availability, and other communications.
You can even use features like a news feed so everyone’s up-to-date on announcements.
Now, you may find that using a combination of applications suit your business better. This way, you get all the tools and features you need.
Digitize Your HR Processes and Systems
When you’re bringing aboard new employees for your retail shop, forgo the use of unnecessary paperwork. You can easily scan all of these important documents and save them for future use.
You’ll find that making everything digital will lighten your load. No longer will you need to maintain a room of filing cabinets with employee paperwork.
Plus, your HR department will love you for it.
Now, there are tools you can use to make the hiring process a breeze for everyone. For instance, you can have your new hires go through all of the documents and sign them right on your site or portal.
This is possible using an API from eversign. This will allow you to embed all of your forms on your system for new hires to access and electronically sign.
Then in the dashboard, you’re able to keep track of all the documents that were signed – no filing cabinets needed!
Another option is to offer digital training manuals. What’s great about this is that it allows new hires to view their guidebook from any device at any time. And then, of course, you’re saving money on printing supplies.
Store Your Paperwork in the Cloud
It’s not too late to transform your retail store into a paperless business. You can either hire a service or assign workers to manually scan all of your documents.
It’s best to import these documents in an editable format so you’re able to make updates to them as needed. In the perfect system, you’ll be able to track and find the documents you need.
Be sure to have all the documents organized so this is possible. And it’s also a good idea to implement a search tool for finding items quicker.
Another option is to store all of your scanned and digital documents in the cloud. This way, they’re accessible from anywhere you have internet access.
There’s also the benefit of safeguarding your documents from being lost in the event your systems are damaged by natural disasters, fires, or vandalism.
You’ll find that you can cut costs on more than just paper. You can minimize accounting and admin expenses while streamlining your processes.
It beats having to search through filing cabinets for a very important document. Or worse, losing that very important document and having to recreate it from scratch.
Also, if you run a more service-based retail company like self-storage or car rentals, going paperless is a must! For instance, when customers come in to rent a storage unit, are you making them manually fill out a rental lease agreement and storing them in file cabinets?
If so, you’re not only wasting money on paper, but also ruining the customer experience. Instead, you could use a platform like eversign and have customers complete their lease agreements in-person, digitally and email them a copy! Not only does this streamline your checkout process, but it also makes storing and tracking those documents extremely simple.
Use Mobile Scanning Apps
All of the documents in your office are now completely digital. But how will you ensure this continues going forward? Surely, you’ll have times when you have to sign a paper document – whether it’s from a partnering company, vendor, or other entity.
When this happens, you can use your mobile device to scan the document. You can do this using a mobile scanning app. This will turn your smartphone or tablet into a scanner.
And then it’ll convert the image into a PDF. From here, you can either sign it using eversign or upload it to the cloud, if you’ve already done so.
This is a neat way to quickly digitize documents on the go.
Keep Inventory Digitally
Managing what’s been sold and what hasn’t is key to running a successful retail store. You need to consistently maintain your inventory to see what’s hot and what’s not.
Then you can always know you have the popular items in stock.
Rather than using paper inventory checklists and spreadsheets, it’s recommended that you use inventory management software instead.
This will allow you to organize and classify products, track stock counts, and assign barcodes using a wireless barcode scanner.
In other words, it offers you the flexibility to quickly take inventory of your store. You may also find productivity levels will increase.
Pay Bills Electronically
You can help other businesses go paperless by opting to pay your bills and invoices electronically. Many light bill companies, phone companies, internet companies, banks, and vendors offer e-billing.
So take them up on the offer, if so.
You’ll find it’s a lot faster and easier to manage and pay your bills electronically. Minimizing time spent with finances means more time to run your business.
Going Paperless in 2019
As you can see, it’s not too late (nor too difficult) to go paperless in 2019. Countless retailers are already doing so and you can too.
And by converting to paperless methods, you’ll find your customer satisfaction rate will grow. Cutting lines, eliminating paper receipts, and offering mobile payments will help to win over new customers.
Plus, you’ll earn yourself a fair share of loyal fans.
Pay attention to how other retailers are going digital to stay ahead of the curve in 2019 and beyond. Make sure to come back and let us know how going paperless has worked for your retail business!