Retailers and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies are finding themselves under pressure on two fronts. Margins are continually being squeezed while customer expectations continue to grow.
Squeezed margins are nothing new to retail who are used to taking cost out of their operations, but for many, further cost savings could negatively impact customer experiences.
RPA increases productivity by cutting costs, boosting data confidence and speeding up processes, giving retailers an opportunity to redistribute resources, delight customers and gain ROI.
Amazon’s roots were in retail and to say that Amazon has disrupted the retail industry would be an understatement. They are approaching 50% of all online retail spend in the U.S. and 5% of all retail sales. Former Amazon employee, Rachel Greer, recently commented, “Amazon has the ability to track both what people are buying as well as what they search for and can’t find, giving the e-retailer a huge edge on smaller sellers.” With that kind of competition, today’s retailers are looking for innovative ways to win back market share.
Amazon’s Impact on CPG
Consumer Package Goods which includes items such as foods, beverages, toiletries, diapers, etc., have faired slightly better than retailers in their battle with Amazon. Brand loyalty tends to be high for many of these items which have given consumer packaged goods an advantage over smaller brands. But that’s changing. According to TJI Research, Amazon is selling approximately 135 private-label brands that offer customers better pricing while forgoing name recognition and often glitzy packaging.
Amazon unveiled its new delivery robot, “Scout.” It’s clear that companies like Amazon are using technology and big data to disrupt traditional business models. It’s time for retailers and CPGs to fight with equal innovation. For many, the digital transformation seems like an elusive and constantly moving target. Their aging legacy systems are so deeply woven into the core of their operations that adopting a potentially disruptive technology is daunting. It would require a major investment and a significant cultural shift.
Digital transformation may be daunting but it is necessary, and it is possible.
Transformative technology already exists that doesn’t disrupt existing legacy systems and enables retailers to work within their existing enterprise ecosystem while creating the platform for longer-term innovation afforded by robotic process automation and artificial intelligence.
Not only will it work within existing infrastructures, but it will also harness customer data on a massive scale and in the fraction of the time that it takes today, data that can redefine customer service and generate extraordinary sales and marketing opportunities.
RPA can streamline workforce management enabling real-time agility by linking and synchronizing databases in HR, sales and payroll updating and analyzing data and automatically triggering emails and text messages keeping employees informed.
Customer complaint handling can also be automated, prioritizing issues, sending automatic responses and either resolving or escalating complaints to business specialists on a 24/7/365 basis. RPA can ensure customer complaints are resolved quickly and effectively, turning disgruntled customers into brand advocates.
The biggest benefit RPA provides here is that past actions can be repetitively performed in the future without manual effort. If a retailer tweaks strategies based on analysis, then RPA can help in measuring effectiveness of new strategies. Product categorization is one of the most important but ignored functions in the retail industry. Customers quite often fail to find numerous products online because of poor product categorization. RPA however can integrate with inventory databases assigning attributes and categorizing products for a seamless customer experience. RPA can also supercharge consumer behavior analysis driving effective trade promotions, store specific planning, new product introductions, customer on-boarding from websites, managing subscription renewals, claims processing and complaint handling and loyalty card management, to name but a few.
RPA presents a rare opportunity to simultaneously improve the consistency and quality of service in payroll, while also driving down the total cost of delivery. It also promises to liberate finance and HR employees from essential high volume, repeatable tasks so they can analyze the increased level of data created during automation.
Once liberated from routine repetitive tasks, RPA can help Human Resource professionals deliver personalized on-boarding experiences for new employees. All the essential processes, the initial meetings with supervisors and briefings on safety, logging time and submitting expenses can be automatically organized in one place, in one bespoke experience. Meanwhile thanks to RPA, a data-driven approach to on-boarding means that employee information can be collected effectively and kept in one place ensuring HR professionals have the information they need to do their jobs quickly and effectively.
RPA can also be used for employee exit management and off-boarding, extracting data from various departments and updating disparate HR and payroll systems.
RPA streamlines this process by integrating data across multiple systems, so the employee has all the information they need on one screen. The employee also only needs to enter data once. This avoids errors and liberates the employee to focus on the customer, rather than carefully entering data in multiple systems.
Optelcon is in the business of making companies more profitable by reducing & containing costs, improving efficiency and sourcing more effectively. Through our strategic partners, Optelcon is vendor-neutral, RPA integrator. With over 50 RPA developers and process engineers, we use best practices to help select the best software for the job, document, program, integrate, and update the bots when processes change. We make sure it gets done right.