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 (priced at $659.99). 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 $759.99with the current pricing 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 device also boasts a modern Intel i7 processor. The other specs are standard as it has 16GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD ON TOP of a 1TB HDD! This means fast start up times, while still having a lot of space for storage. Now it is a really bang for your buck laptop as it sits at $699.99 with HP’s current holiday sales.
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 $779.00 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 $808.99. 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.
Are you wondering what “BOPIS” or “clicks to bricks” mean? Are you looking for a reliable list of the top 100 retail terms?🤔
Success in retail today involves an increasing number of technologies and concepts. But who has the time to keep up with new terms when you’re busy running retail stores?
Don’t worry, TAKU Retail has got you covered. Whether you’re a long-time retailer or a new merchant, we’re here to make things easier for you. Don’t waste time looking at questionable resources online.
As former retailers themselves, our founders have prepared a list of the most used retail terms in a searchable, sortable retail glossary. Click below for the only retail dictionary you’ll ever need.
TAKU Retail continues to be the best go-to tool for your retail needs. Besides our retail glossary, check out our free blog resources to find other ways to improve your business. All of our blog posts are written for retail owners.
Easter falls on April 17th this year. With many COVID-19 restrictions easing everywhere, shoppers are increasingly confident and energized about shopping now. Easter is the first big family holiday of the year. As a retailer, the holidays are a great marketing and sales opportunity. Here are 3 tips for Easter retail marketing this year.
1. Offer ready-to-go promotions and discounts to attract customers
Shoppers today expect convenience and curation when they buy. Make it easy for your customers to grab products without any extra effort. Even if you don’t specialize in chocolate or sell Easter-related products you can still offer a unique angle. Make promotions related to Spring-time activities such as: spring cleaning, spring weather, gardening, etc. Spring is the ideal season for launching new products and exclusives. The season is traditionally seen as a time of renewal and hope, making it the best time to launch new products!
You can also tempt more shoppers into buying from you by:
Discounting your best-selling items with an Easter or Spring theme
Getting rid of your winter products through deep discounts on the items
Preparing small giveaway goodies that customers can get once their purchase reaches a certain amount of money – or if they purchase a product that’s being promoted
You can also set up a landing page or a section on your website / e-commerce site which will advertise these promotions. This way shoppers can easily browse through sale and seasonal items. TAKU helps you create a free micro-website or landing page. In our builder, you can create a beautiful SEO-optimized web page with custom colors, images, and content. The content can be linked directly to your Instagram Shop, Facebook Shop, Google store listings and even Messenger chat. The process will only take you 5 minutes to set up. Afterwards it runs on autopilot. Learn more here.
2. Inspirational giveaways and contests
“Especially during COVID right now, we know that the shopper has been looking for different ways to be inspired — whether that be through recipes or activities or ways just to make ordinary moments more special…”
Lauren Foltz, senior manager of holistic shopper insights at Hershey. (source)
Make YOUR consumer feel special by considering giveaways and / or social media contests. You can have customers sign up for these contests by agreeing to sign up for your mailing list or newsletter; two birds with one stone. This will then direct your followers from the online platform to your physical store. It can also increase your visibility on social media and make your store more recognizable. You could also create a short Easter game like a virtual egg hunt to make your promotions more fun. You can even encourage your customers to vote between products to learn their preferences so you can adjust your communications to match their needs. Then you can encourage the winners to share their prize or experience on social media for some good old word-of-mouth marketing. Remember, the goal with this year’s Easter retail marketing is to make your customers feel special.
You can use TAKU’s 360° real-time customer view to see your customers’ sales history in real-time so you can target a specific audience. If your customers are heavy social media users, use our built-in Facebook or Instagram feeds to sell directly to your followers. You can get a pretty clear overview of their total relationship with your business, across all channels, in store and online.
3. Launch remarketing campaigns for Easter retail marketing
Holiday retail marketing is a great opportunity to win back past visitors as well. You can use Facebook “retargeting” ads to attract old visitors back to your website. You will need to set up a Facebook pixel on your website to do this. The retargeting ads can showcase your Easter offers & promotions. You could also show different offers to people who have interacted with your website before. For the best results, retarget past website visitors who added items to their cart but never checked out. After all, nearly 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned without finishing the transaction (source: Baymard Institute). You can also target shoppers who have engaged with you on social media during the previous weeks. In a nutshell, you want to get customers to come back and finish the sales they started.
TAKU can simplify this entire process for you. Our built-in abandoned cart saver will help you recapture those pesky cart abandoners! The entire automated process will leave you worry-free.
Experiential retail continues to grow in importance
The competition in physical retail grows daily. Experiential retail is a way for you to make your business stand out. Create unique and memorable in-store experiences by focusing on community, events, and your potential & existing customers’ interests. This way, instead of only aiming to increase sales revenue, you’ll also deliver enjoyable experiences that build brand affinity.
Let’s say you sell sustainably made cookware. You could create a community-building opportunity in store by hosting a mix-and-mingle experience with other businesses that create products for a similar audience. For example, you could invite a chef, a tableware brand, a local farmer, and a brand that makes 100% natural sauces or seasoning to participate in the event.
All the brands involved can display their products. So as the shoppers are experiencing the awesome products, they can also make purchases.
Depending on the point of sale (POS) used at your store, you can review your customer profiles to get an overview of purchase history and interests that can help inform your strategy to create the in-store experiences your customers are looking for.
After several years of restrictions, shoppers are increasingly looking for opportunities to celebrate their lives. While many retailers make a significant portion of their sales at the end of the year, there are a lot of other seasonal holidays that can help to spread out sales throughout the year.
If you’re looking for merchandising ideas and sales opportunities, consider adding some of the following celebrations this year to your retail holiday marketing calendar.
Black History Month (February)
Lunar / Chinese New Year, Asia
Note that this holiday follows a lunisolar calendar. Therefore the timing of the holiday changes every year and can start any time from the end of January to mid-February. It is usually a 3 week festive period with the first day being celebrated as the New Year day. For the New Year day in the Gregorian calendar until 2031, you can refer to this website.
Super Bowl Sunday (February 13)
Valentine’s Day (February 14)
President’s Day (February 21)
Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday (March 1)
St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
International Women’s Day (March 8)
Daylight Savings Time begins (March 13)
Spring Break/March Break (March 14 – 18)
White Day, Asia (March 14)
Holi Festival (March 18)
First Day of Spring (March 20)
April Fool’s Day (April 1)
Ramadan begins (April 2)
Note, this holiday is also dependent on a lunar calendar
National Pet Day (April 11)
Tax Season (April 15)
Good Friday (April 15)
Easter (April 17)
Passover (April 15 – 23)
Earth Day (April 22)
Wedding Season (May)
Graduation Day (May)
Ramadan ends (May 2)
Note, this holiday is also dependent on a lunar calendar
Eid al-Fitr (May 3)
Note, this holiday is also dependent on a lunar calendar
Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
Victoria Day, Canada (May 23)
Mother’s Day (May 8)
Memorial Day, US (May 30)
Pride Month (June 1- 30)
World Environment Day (June 5)
Father’s Day (June 19)
Juneteenth, US (June 19)
Summer Solstice (June 21)
Canada Day (July 1)
US Independence Day (July 4)
Islamic New Year (July 29 – 30)
Back to School season begins
Back to School season ends
Labor Day (September 5)
Grandparents’ Day (September 11)
National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15)
Although the word omnichannel is often used in retail, it is a term that is often misunderstood. Here is an explanation of what omnichannel means, how it works, and how it can help you increase your profits.
1. What is a retail sales channel?
Sales channels refer to every different method used by retailers to sell their products to customers. Sales channels go beyond brick & mortar stores. Other sales channels could be events, trade shows, resellers, dealers, curbside pickup, and on-the-go pickup. Additionally, sales channels can also include social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok), SMS, instant messaging, and even Google Ads.
Most retailers start off selling on a single channel. This can be a physical brick and mortar store or an online only webstore. Prior to the pandemic, an increasing number of retailers have started to add new sales channels to their businesses as shoppers now expect to be able to shop and pre-shop in more than one place.
2. What is omnichannel?
Omnichannel is a fully-integrated retail experience for shoppers. So when omnichannel works, it means customers will have the same experience no matter which sales channel they use. A customer who buys products from a brick & mortar store should have the same experience as one who uses social media channels to buy products. This is the ideal outcome for a successful omnichannel retail business.
What many retailers aren’t as familiar with, is that retailers must use a system that can share sales, inventory, and customer information (data) across all sales channels to be able to offer omnichannel retail. This means handling all store sales and fulfillment of online orders under a single login. In particular, omnichannel systems make store-managed e-commerce such as “buy online pickup in-store” a lot more efficient.
A successful system handles data for sales, inventory and customer information across all brick & mortar stores, online storefronts, ecommerce marketplaces, mobile channels/apps (WhatsApp), and social media commerce (Facebook or Instagram Shop). You should be able to sell to your customers no matter where they shop. In the past, omnichannel systems were expensive and only available to very large retailers. However, today’s modern cloud systems have made it possible for small-to-mid-sized retailers to take advantage of the cost-savings and sales boosting benefits of omnichannel retail.
3. What is the difference between multichannel & omnichannel?
It’s important not to confuse omnichannel with multichannel, despite their similarities. Like omnichannel, multichannel refers to retailers selling to customers through different sales channels. Yet, in a multichannel setup, these channels are not integrated.
Unlike omnichannel, multichannel does not unify the customer experience. And more importantly, multichannel retail costs merchants a lot more money because they need to log into separate tools or channels to manage inventory separately, or see sales and customer history. This is a time-consuming process that can lead to lost sales and errors. It also increases the complexity of your sales and tax management. Additionally, multichannel increases the cost of managing inventory if sales are being fulfilled from the store or the same place.
4. Why is omnichannel retail important?
Omnichannel selling offers a data-driven approach to retail. As stock levels change, you will want to know the product levels in every channel. A good omnichannel system will do this automatically. This means you will never have to manually manage stockouts. A good omnichannel system will also increase sales by highlighting your best customers across all sales channels. It will focus on faster fulfill of every sale, no matter where the sale originates.
Omnichannel systems are increasingly effective at attracting people to brick & mortar locations. They do this by linking to Google to drive foot traffic to stores based on how close nearby shoppers are to available stock. This increases overall profits by increasing in-store and sales conversion rates.
The goal is a memorable and positive experience for your customers. Omnichannel can make this happen.
TAKU Retail can provide you with a comprehensive and integrated omnichannel strategy that will remove friction between channels. Because TAKU is cloud-based, it can function on any device since it’s not tied to any specific type of hardware. This enables you to use any existing web-enabled devices from desktop computers or tablets to smartphones.
TAKU can not only help you increase sales and reduce operational costs, but it can also help you get in front of shoppers before they even leave their homes. Click below to find out about other ways TAKU Retail can help you achieve a successful omnichannel system for your business.