There is a big labor shortage in North America right now. Tons of small and big businesses are being affected by the lack of workers. Being short-staffed can lead to frustrated employees & customers, and even lead to losses on sales. In fact, a study found that 6% of potential sales are lost due to a lack of service. Retail store owners need to learn how to reduce the chances of employees leaving and maximize operations while being short-staffed. This blog will give you a guide to managing retail while understaffed.
Why are stores understaffed?
Firstly, it is important to understand why there is a labor shortage in the first place. If you can understand what is going wrong, then you can take the steps to fix the problem. The low staffing problem boils down to the following: jobs don’t feel worth it anymore, demographic issues, and a disconnect between workers and employers.
Is this even worth it?
Many workers are coming to realize that they are no longer fulfilled by their jobs. Worse yet, the people who feel no satisfaction from their job are also not being paid enough. Would you want to work somewhere that drains you and doesn’t even compensate you to make it worth it? Well, many people are starting to say no. The COVID-19 situation opened up this realization for many. Millions of people decided to quit their job during the pandemic. But even though the pandemic is over for the most part, these attitudes have become permanent. Many people are feeling burnt out from their jobs, and the companies they work for needlessly add to this. Employers should be seeking to make work something their employees don’t hate if they want to win the battle against low staffing. If possible offer flexible work schedules, better pay, better breaks/off time, and check in on your employees’ mental health.
Demographics in the labor shortage
There is a large number of workers who are at retirement age. This number is bigger than the number of people entering the workforce. This surely creates a shortage in workers: leading to short-staffed businesses. On top of all of this, immigration slow-downs have created bigger gaps in labor. As a business owner there isn’t much you can do to combat this problem. However you can try to start appealing to younger demographics in your hiring practices.
The disconnect in the job market
There is simply a problem between the communication of employers and employees right now. Poor hiring practices are leading to many people missing out on jobs, and growing anti-work sentiments are leading to companies missing out on employees. Wages and expectations are not keeping up with each other. Many people are finding the jobs that they are qualified for do not pay enough. On the other hand, people are finding jobs that pay well but the requirements are not realistic.
These three factors seem to be some of the biggest contributors to businesses being understaffed. So what can you do as an understaffed retailer?
How to manage retail while understaffed
Better working conditions will lead to less low staffing
Did you know more than half of the people who believe their work schedules are inconsistent end up quitting their jobs? It is essential to make sure your employees have a consistent schedule which will give them a sense of security and fulfillment. Additionally, as we previously mentioned – giving workers some flexibility will help them want to work more as well. Things like offering better lunch breaks, days off, or even providing your employees lunch every now and then. When an employee feels like their company cares about them then they will care about their company. Also make sure you aren’t overworking your employees when you are short-staffed. When you set realistic expectations for your workers, and they will deliver realistic results.
Take advantage of your online channel
Why not reduce some of the work load by letting your online channel do a lot of the grunt work? Making sure your website, ecommerce store, or social media accounts can advertise and sell products will give your employees more time to take care of other tasks. Things like buy online pick up in-store (BOPIS) can help speed up the closing of sales. Make sure you are using an omnichannel system to take the advantage of BOPIS. Being able to offload work to your online channel will be a great help in times your store is understaffed.
Understand your store
If you are a store owner and can’t tell us when your peak days are, then you got a big problem on your hands. In order to make the best scheduling decisions you need to be able to understand when your store is the most busy. Once you do, you can schedule more workers during that time and less during off-peak hours. This will help you to make the most out of your payroll budgeting. You should also be able to understand which tasks are higher priority for your store. This will help you increase efficiency in store operations. Omnichannel systems like TAKU provide business owners like YOU with this type of data. Bringing us to our next and final point:
Managing retail while understaffed with efficiency
Efficiency is all about making the most with the least. If you don’t have that many workers, you need to make sure that workers you do have are taking care of the essential stuff. A good rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule. Workers and managers should dedicate 80% of their time and effort to the 20% of work that matters the most. Things like serving customers, and keeping shelves stocked.
In order to help maximize efficiency in your store consider using TAKU’s new self-checkout kiosk. This amazing new channel for your retail business will open up more time for your team who are following the 80/20 rule. Once customers can complete transactions on their own, less employees are needed to do so. This allows you to assign other important tasks to your staff. There is a reason why so many retailers have implemented self-checkout during the pandemic.
These tips will help you manage retail while understaffed. Remember it is important to keep your employees as happy as you can. Be sure to also use tools which will further optimize your operations. This will lead to better customer service and in turn sales.
TAKU Retail uses state-of-the-art retail technology to provide one of the best omnichannel systems for retailers. TAKU’s omnichannel offerings allow retailers to optimize their business for efficiency and continue to manage retail while understaffed. Learn more by tapping on the banner below.
Like any other job, having the right tools to run your retail business is important for success. It is essential to have a computer to run a business in the modern age. An affordable laptop that meets your needs as a retailer can increase your productivity and make operations run smoothly. Through intense research, the TAKU team has created a list of the best laptops for small businesses. These laptops will be able to run software like QuickBooks, Microsoft Office, and TAKU Retail with ease. Since this is a list of laptops for small business owners we’ve kept the list to laptops under $1000 USD.
Before we dive into the list of laptops we should go over some of the basics of computer specs (specifications). Computer specs refer to the pieces that make up the computer. The specs are also a good indication of computer’s potential performance. Here are some of the most important specs to be looking out for when shopping for a computer/laptop.
Random access memory (RAM)
RAM is one of the most basic specs one should look at when purchasing a computer. To simplify things, think of RAM as the shelf size in a store. The bigger your merchandising shelf is, the more products you can display nicely. The more RAM a computer has, the more programs and windows it can have open at once while still running things smoothly. RAM is measured in GB (gigabytes). 8 GB of RAM is the standard these days, and will be enough to keep up with the standard day-to-day operations for a business. It is important to keep in mind that Google Chrome is well known for using a lot of RAM. So if you are someone who likes to have a bunch of tabs open, you may want to spring for 12-16 GB of RAM. For a deeper explanation of RAM check out this article.
Central processing unit (CPU)
The CPU (also known as a processor) is the brain of your computer. It is arguably the most important piece of the computer because it does most of the work. A strong CPU will usually mean a fast computer. Now CPUs are not measured in a metric (like how RAM is measured with gigabytes). CPUs require a bit of technical knowledge and research to understand which ones are the best. To keep things simple, we recommend that for business purposes you aim for an i5 or i7 processor. The i5 and i7 models are only with the Intel brand, but most of the laptops on our list contain Intel processors.
The storage capacity of your computer is the amount of data it can contain. This is also measured in gigabytes. There are two options on computers these days when it comes to storage. There are solid state drives (SSD) and hard disk drives (HDD). HDDs are generally a lot larger (in storage & physical size) and cheaper but are not as fast to load your data. SSDs are much faster but cost more, this is why they’ll tend to have smaller storage space. SSDs are pretty much the standard now as they allow your computer to load Windows (or Mac OS) a lot faster (this means the computer starts up quicker). All the laptops in our list contain SSDs. For a full breakdown between the two check out PC Magazine’s article.
Now there are a bunch of other specs one can look at when shopping for a laptop, but the three mentioned above are a good starting place. So let’s dive into the best laptops for small businesses.
8 of the best laptops for small businesses
The HP 15-dy2924nr is a great laptop at its price tag ($517.00 discount price on Amazon, and $659.99 standard price). The computer has the standard 8 GB of RAM, a 256 GB SSD and an Intel i5-1135G7 processor. The processor is quite a powerful chip and will ensure your programs run smooth. The laptop also has quick charging, letting it repower from 0% to 50% in just 45 minutes (not to mention its 8.15 hour battery life)! This ensures you waste no time and can get to serving your customers quicker. Purchase it from Amazon today!
Inspiron 15 3000
The Inspiron 15 3000 is quite a solid laptop. The laptop goes for $479.99 with the current sale on Dell’s website. The laptop has 12 GB of RAM, and a whopping 512 GB SSD! Furthermore it uses a 10th generation Intel i5-1035G1 processor. These specs at this price seem like a steal! The physical build quality of this laptop is in the mid range, but this is expected at this price tag. It is built from plastic, but a durable sturdy kind. The battery can last up to 11 hours in some use cases, making it more than convenient for a full day of running your business. With the specs offered and that price tag, you really can’t go wrong with the Inspiron 15 3000.
This HP laptop is the only laptop on this list to have a big 17.3″ screen. This is a great option for those who have a bit more difficult seeing things up close. This is also the only laptop on the list without an Intel processor, but the AMD Ryzen 7 5700U CPU is a powerful and well priced processor. The other specs are standard as it has 8 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD. Now it is not the most bang for your buck laptop as it sits at $699.99 but it makes sense considering the large screen size.
Refurbished 2015 Apple MacBook Pro
The cost of a brand new MacBook is way beyond the budget of this list. However, if you are still itching for a Mac computer – you can’t go wrong with a refurbished MacBook. This refurbished 2015 MacBook Pro is going for $528.99 on Amazon right now. With 16 GB of RAM, a 256 GB SSD and a powerful Intel i7 processor, you’ll be able to accomplish any of your business needs! Apple computers are well known for their top class build quality, so know you’ll be getting a sturdy and beautiful laptop. Even for a 7 year old laptop, this machine still runs all the software a small business would need wonderfully!
Acer Swift 3
This is one of the smaller laptops on the list with a 14″ screen. But the small body of the computer in no way impacts the performance. This computer has an Intel i5-1135G7 CPU, 8 GB of RAM and a large 512 GB SSD. One of the benefits of the smaller screen is that it allows the batter to have a whole 13 hours of charge! The laptop is very light too at 2.56 lbs. A really sleek computer with a decent price point ($799.99).
Lenovo Yoga 7i (14”) 2 in 1 Laptop
Lenovo makes some the best quality Windows laptops on the market, and their Yoga series is definitely a contributor. The Yoga 7i is a 2 in 1 laptop, so it can be used as both a traditional laptop or a tablet. The base model comes with an 11th generation i5-1135G7 CPU, 8 GB of RAM, and a 256 SSD. All of that is priced at $764.99, upgrades to some specs can be chosen on their website for additional costs. Since this laptop is also a 14″ screen, it can run up to 13 hours with full battery life. Even though the specs seem similar to others on this list, the higher price point comes from Lenovo’s super high quality craftsmanship. These machines are similar to Macs in the sense that they are very durable and sleek. The durability is thanks to the use of high quality materials for the device.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7
The surface laptops blur the line between tablets and laptops. Surfaces don’t come with a built in keyboard (those can be purchased separately). But they are very sleek, modern, and powerful machines. The specs are as follows: 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, and an Intel i5 8032. This machine is probably the least bang for your buck (especially at the $759.00 price point) compared to the other options on this list, but it is still a really well-built and a decently powerful machine.
2020 Lenovo ThinkPad E15
Lenovo ThinkPads have been a staple in almost any business sector for a long time, and there’s a reason why. The ThinkPad series have some of the best security features in the industry. This specific ThinkPad has 16 GB of RAM, a 512 GB SSD, a 15″ screen, and a powerful Intel i5-10210U processor. All of this comes at a price tag of $928.95. Although this is the most expensive option on this list, it is also one of the best value laptops. At that price point the specs almost seem like a dream! Pair that up with Lenovo’s top notch build quality and premium security features, and you have a top of the line laptop! If you are not constrained by tight budgets, we recommend this laptop the most out of everything on this list.
There you have it! TAKU’s list of the best laptops for a small business. Now it should be mentioned that laptops in general don’t have long lifespans compared to regular desktop computers. So if your budget allows it, you might want to invest in an even more expensive laptop. This way you can ensure your device will have a longer lifespan. You now have some computer knowledge to get a basic understanding when doing some laptop shopping. We hope you use the information provided to find the best laptop for your small business.
Now that you have a new laptop, why not learn about some of the great technology of tomorrow? Metaverse shopping will set new standards for the retail game. To stay ahead of the curve and learn more about shopping in the metaverse click here.
The metaverse is a term you’ve most likely noticed being tossed around on the internet in the last year or so. Many predict that the metaverse is the future of the internet. At the moment it is used primarily for entertainment purposes. While the metaverse may seem like a gimmick right now, it will become so much more than that. In the long term, the metaverse has the potential to transform the shopping experience, and create a more engaging and immersive experience for consumers.
These digital worlds (where many will work and play) will be the next step in internet use. There have already been a number of concerts and events taking place in the digital space. While it’s still early days for the metaverse, retailers should get involved earlier, because the cost of entry is lower today.
During the early days of the internet, many businesses were quick to dismiss the idea of shoppers buying online. But the first businesses who started online stores ended up with a major advantage versus their competitors. So the question remains, how can retailers take advantage of the metaverse?
You can own a digital space for your business just like you can own a physical space for your brick and mortar store. A digital space allows you to interact with your customer and introduce them to your products.
When saying digital space you may be confusing it with an online website or ecommerce store. In this situation a digital space is a 3D environment on the metaverse where companies can actually create virtual stores. The virtual stores actually allow users to interact with product and see them in a 3D space. Whereas on an ecommerce store the consumer would only be able to see pictures and videos of the product.
The metaverse would allow you to create a new shopping experience for your customers. Forever 21 used the platform *Roblox to allow shoppers to create their own versions of digital Forever 21 stores. In these user-created stores, digital versions of existing merchandise were sold. The products were then actually delivered to the buyers’ real-life homes.
*For those unaware, Roblox is an online gaming platform which allows users to create their own virtual worlds/games. Similar to YouTube, where users create content for others to watch – in Roblox users create games for others to play.
Simply rehashing your existing store on the digital front will not be a successful way to deliver this new shopping experience. Sky Canaves, a senior analyst at Insider Intelligence says that there is no need to be stuck between 4 walls in the metaverse, she continues that metaverse shopping can be so much more experiential. Imagine shopping for a car and being able to drive the car around in the Italian countryside all from your home. This is the type of experience merchants will want to foster for their metaverse customers.
Merchandising’s new boundaries
Metaverse shopping will help push merchandising to new limits. Showcasing your products in the digital world will allow for new and exciting ways for customers to see your offerings. Similarly to the car example in the last paragraph, companies can allow consumers to test merchandise in the virtual world. Besides the virtual world, retailers can leverage the new technology associated with the metaverse to show off their merchandise. Back in 2017, Ikea introduced their app Ikea Placewhich allows customers to use their iPhone cameras to see what Ikea furniture would look like in their own homes before committing to a purchase. This use of AR (augmented reality) has become commonplace for many retailers.
The beauty of the metaverse is that unlike a traditional brick & mortar store, a retailer’s merchandising is not confined to the physical space available inside the store. Shopping on the metaverse allows retailers to showcase an unlimited amount of products in a limitless space. For example a hardware store could showcase every single type of cabinet, flooring tile, or whatever other product they have in a virtually infinitely sized warehouse. Furthermore searching for these products on a digital store will be much easier than a physical store. Users could hypothetically type in what they are searching for and have the product magically appear in front of them so they can inspect it before purchasing. For a better idea of what this could look like, check out companies’ early visions of metaverse shopping.
Besides building brand awareness, companies can hold other sorts of promotions in the metaverse. Brands can host special events in the metaverse such as classes, conferences, and workshops. For promoting the film ‘In the Heights’ Warner Brothers held a large block party on the Roblox platform. This made for an accessible way for consumers to partake in a promotional event.
Retailer can even start offering promotional exclusives on the metaverse. For example you could pair the sale of a shoe at a shoe store with a digital version of the shoe for an online game like Fortnite. In fact Nike has already filed patents to begin selling digital versions of their products.
A company who wants to succeed in the metaverse will be paying attention to the different ways big brands are interacting with it already. Take the lessons from the big players and see what you can change in your approach. We understand, the metaverse is still young and nothing is concrete yet. But by paying attention to what is going on in the digital space you may come up with the next big idea which will influence everyone else. There is some investment and technical know how needed to get involved in the digital world. Keep your ears open and your eyes peeled as the metaverse will continue to grow. The new digital front will provide a bunch of new opportunities. You don’t want to end up like the brands who dismissed the internet back in the 90s.
With TAKU Retail you can create an all inclusive and integrated omnichannel strategy that will get you ready to move your physical store to an online platform. Find out how TAKU Retail can help you achieve a seamless and successful omnichannel system for your business below!
If you’ve been keeping up with TAKU blogs we assume you are already offering Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS). If you aren’t, check out how TAKU can help you to easily offer BOPIS with 0 headaches! 85% of shoppers interviewed in this study have admitted to making extra in-store purchases when visiting to pick up their orders. It’s essential to be thinking about how retailers can get shoppers to add more to their store pick up orders since this is the best way to get the most out of your BOPIS offerings.
Let’s go over some strategies YOU can start using today to get more impulse purchases through in-store pick ups.
Start on the online front
Your first opportunity at getting customers to add more to their purchase during a BOPIS order is on the online front. Your customers are already ready to make a purchase when they go onto your website to make an order – this is the perfect time to strike! CNBC mentions that “once you’ve mentally committed to buying an item online, you know you’ll have to go through the required steps such as entering your information… so you may be more open to tossing additional stuff into your cart.” Here are two tactics you can use to upsell online.
The fear of missing out (FOMO) is a very real thing. Finder.com reported that more than half of consumers said they made an impulse purchase because of FOMO. Timed discounts are a perfect way to use this attitude to make more sales. When a consumer is making a pick up order on your website, you can upsell another item to them at a discount. Make sure this discount has a timer on it, so they have to make the decision quick or miss out on the offer forever.
You can upsell products on the checkout screen of your website with ease. You can recommend products that pair well with whatever the customer is buying and have them be easy to add to the customer’s cart right from the checkout screen.
Real-time stock quantities
Showing real-time stock levels for items on your website is a great way to get shoppers to add more to their store pick up order. Shoppers whose purchases are driven by stock availability would be excited to add more to their cart if they know those items are available and can be picked up all at once, in one visit.
On top of that, you can still appeal to a customer’s FOMO with this tactic. If the customer sees that an additional item only has 1 unit left in stock, they will be more likely to reserve the item online so that they do not miss out. Adding a tool such as TAKU’s built-in integration to Google to your own online store makes it easy for you to effortlessly showcase your available store products online.
In-store strategy to upsell
Another opportunity to increase additional sales of a pick up order is within the store itself. As BOPIS’ name suggests, your customers will have to come in-store to pick up their products. This provides another avenue to promote extra purchases. Here are some tactics that will get shoppers to add more to their pick up orders.
Transaction building with expert employees
A transaction building strategy will motivate consumers to add more to orders. For example let’s pretend you are an hardware store. If a customer comes into buy a bath tub for a washroom renovation they may realize there are some other products they will need. These can include things like caulking, shower heads, and maybe even a shower curtain rod. You can train your employees to bring these subjects up when the customer comes into pick up their order, this will ideally lead to more additions to their purchase. Having well-informed employees is a huge advantage for this strategy. Think about a time where an employee’s expertise in a store has helped you make the right purchase.
Price threshold discounts
Another simple way to get shoppers to add more to their store pick up order is to offer discounts based on their transaction price. Let’s say a customer is coming in to pick up a $180.00 order. You could tell them that if they make a $200.00 purchase they will get an additional 10% off. This will get them to look around your store for a $20 item so that they can get the discount. The urgency of the in-store offer is often enough to get them to purchase an extra item or two.
Promotions on receipts
If the customer has already made the pick up without adding anything to their purchase, you can make a last ditch effort through receipt marketing. You can leave messages on the receipts of transactions which communicate in-store promotions and discounts. This way the customer knows that next time they can take advantage of in-store promotions and add to their basket. Companies like Fobi offer products which can help you make the most out of receipt marketing.
Who doesn’t enjoy a good game? Using the reward system that games use can help your customers feel more enticed to make additional purchases. At the pick up center of your store you could add a spin-to-win wheel that will give customers special promotions with the purchase of an additional item. You could also try to upsell a specific item which will enter the customer into a raffle to win something exciting.
Don’t sleep on food
Have you ever been to a hardware store and saw their displays near the cash registers and wondered why? You know, those displays showcasing snacks like chips, candy and nuts. Well there’s a reason to include those items there. Even if you are not in an industry usually related to food, you can easily offer food items as small last minute purchases. When someone is coming in quickly to pick up an item, sometimes the convenience of having a drink or snack be easily grabbable is just what they need. Why would the customer drive to a gas station to buy a water bottle when they can easily grab one right at your store as they are picking up their order?
Make it easy to add more
In order to get the best results with any of these tips, you go to make it easy for the customer and employee. No one is going to want to add to their order if it is made a hassle. Your employees should be easily able to add additional items to the customer’s order with quickness. POS systems like TAKU make this as easy as possible.
TAKU can help your store manage BOPIS and curbside fulfillments efficiently. In addition to running all your in-store and online sales in one system, TAKU’s built-in free Google listings allow you to easily advertise your real stock availability to current customers. Want to get started? Click the button below for a free demo.