In the fast-pace retail industry, there is a common struggle with internal communication between the corporate offices and its retail stores. Oftentimes, your communication channels, whether it be email or messaging, are inefficient and indirect, which can delay the execution of your campaigns.
As these struggles persist, there is a growing need for strong internal communication that can streamline processes between corporate and all distribution channels. Effective communication is key to optimize marketing investments and facilitate company growth.
There are a number of common communication breakdowns we see in the retail industry today.
- Email is unreliable.
Communication between the corporate headquarters down to the retail stores was via email, which proved to be slow, inefficient, and quickly outdated. New campaigns and product offerings are miscommunicated or unclear, and misprinted collateral is not only costly but delays the execution of in-store campaigns.
- Difficulty finding relevant, timely information.
Your retail stores may be accessing outdated information and materials. Important announcements and collateral, such as latest price sheets, product briefs, merchandising guides, etc. are often lost within emails since there’s a lack of an organized, central location to store and distribute necessary information.
Additionally, information needed to be parsed manually at each of the region-specific distribution points making the entire process time-consuming and laborious.
- High staff turnover
As is common in the retail industry, high turnover rate and short-term staffing models add to the challenges. Email communication is sent to stale email addresses, critical information only lives inside an individual’s email where it isn’t accessible to the rest of the team, and there are inconsistencies in getting new staff trained and up-to-speed effortlessly. Moreover, with store level teams working in shifts, information is difficult to distribute to all team members consistently.
- Lack of bi-directional communication
Retail companies place heavy focus on passing down information from the top (corporate), down (to the retail stores), that they forget to also receive important feedback from their retail stores. Not only is it difficult for retail stores to give feedback to corporate, but it’s also difficult for them to reach out and ask for help, especially when emails to corporate get easily overlooked amidst the tens of retail stores
So, how do you solve these problems?
Instead of distributing documents via email and storing files under individual accounts, there needs to be dedicated resource pages that allows different teams to have real-time access to the latest reports, documents, collateral, calendars, directories, and more, in one centralized location. On your centralized platform, create permissions so that only the people that need to see specific information can access what they need. Regional managers in different zones don’t need to see each other’s documents. Neither do store managers located out in Hawaii that don’t run winter campaigns alongside your stores in New York. These resources must also be accessible to new hires, which reduces the level of effort and costly hours that are spent on-boarding high-turnover roles.
Standardized and custom, automated workflow procedures can also improve productivity. A series of step by step processes that can be triggered by one action so that no communication is lost. For example, once a vacation request is submitted by an employee, it automatically notifies the manager and the head of HR in order to get approved. Similarly, a company-wide helpdesk that can receive feedback and requests, and send those to all relevant staff, will ensure that nothing is missed.
Client Case – Implementing a Comprehensive Internal Communication Solution
Take, for example, one of our retail clients that specializes in luxury apparel and accessories who encountered an internal communication breakdown and looked to Xelleration for a comprehensive solution. The client’s brand is widely distributed across approximately 40 countries and their direct-to-consumer channels, including 40 retail stores, 14 outlet stores, and an e-commerce site, Vince.com. With such a broad distribution, a variety of communication problems arose.
Xelleration worked closely with the client to create a customized Retail Communications portal on a branded SharePoint Online site, allowing all retail stores to quickly and easily log-in to access their role-appropriate Marketing, HR, and Operations information from anywhere and any device. Stores can quickly give feedback to Corporate, making errors easier to remediate and increasing overall productivity and innovation. Organized processes and ability to track metrics enable smarter decision-making for future campaigns, leading to customer loyalty and operational efficiency.
How Can this Solution Help Me?
By utilizing Xelleration’s Retail Communications solution, retail companies can continue to expand their operations without compromising the level of communication between the corporate headquarters and the retail stores.
Campaigns can be executed with increased frequency, consistency, and quality, while maintaining the highest return on investments. With more campaign flexibility and agility, retail companies can improve their competitive advantage and have more control over the customer experience with optimized marketing campaigns.
We know in retail, speed of information is very important. Your internal communication infrastructure is critical to your business’s success. By leveraging standard tools you may already own, like Microsoft SharePoint, build stronger brand loyalty, execute campaigns more quickly and frequently, and increase ROI on your marketing investments to grow your business.
Want to see it in action? Request a demo today!