5 ways to improve in-store retail productivity within your workforce

by Rotageek on 6 October 2021

Employee productivity is a must-measure key performance indicator (KPI) within any business. The more efficient your staff are - the quicker you see results. 

For retailers, in-store productivity is one of the most important metrics. It determines how fast tasks are completed, how many transactions take place and how many products are sold. However, unlike other industries, there are a lot more factors that influence productivity and efficiency in the retail environment. 

Here we share how to measure - and improve - your in-store retail productivity.

Why is productivity important in retail?

For brick and mortar stores, workforce productivity is everything. Unlike the online shopping experience, customers rely on staff throughout the journey, from identifying products to a seamless checkout. 

Any obstacles such as low stock or long queues have an immediate impact on customer satisfaction and ultimately your in-store sales.

How to manage and monitor retail employee productivity

Firstly, how do we calculate how productive a store really is? There are a number of KPIs that can help determine productivity levels - and where there’s room to improve. 

These include

  • the number of tasks completed 
  • the time taken to complete tasks
  • sales per employee or per hour
  • items per sale (and rates of upselling)
  • employee engagement and happiness
  • overall customer satisfaction and NPI scores

Each of the above measures will reveal a huge insight into whether goals are being met. And the easiest way of doing so is through workforce management software. By using an accessible, cloud-based solution managers gain real-time visibility over the entire store performance from task progression to items sold per hour. These KPIs then reveal where more resources, training or in-store improvements are needed.

5 proven productivity improvement strategies for your retail store

The productivity of a store predominantly lies with the performance of your employees. Therefore it’s crucial to develop their skills and ensure they have everything they need to be efficient. 

1. Multi-channel communication

A lack of communication can cause a whole bunch of issues, but even more so in a deskless environment. Announcements get missed, processes get confused and the connection between different types of workers is often minimal. 

By employing a platform that enables casual conversation and immediate updates, retailers can ensure workers are kept in the loop and boost connectivity. Multi-feature apps such as Slack streamline idea sharing with real-time notifications that are accessible on every device. This ensures all important information is shared whilst presenting the same familiarity of social media - improving productivity in the longrun. 

Similar programmes were a core part of the Covid response strategy for Pets At Home, who created weekly wellbeing newsletters, a shared forum and enhanced support for furloughed colleagues. 

2. Autonomous working

Everybody wants to feel a certain level of independence in the workplace. From task allocation to the weekly rota, it’s important to ensure each member of staff has room for autonomy. 

Involve workers in the selection of their responsibilities and shifts by using digital solutions that are accessible via a mobile app for all employees. Here staff can input their personal preferences, request leave or swap shifts to feel in control of their schedule. Doing so allows retailers to harness productivity, with employees completing tasks at their best performing times.

3. Improved learning opportunities

Like many other shift working sectors, retail has experienced a drop in available headcount due to the pandemic, Brexit and change in employee demands. As a result, employees may need to upskill to accommodate for gaps and hiring freezes. 

Traditionally, employee learning focuses on processes and products, but enhanced knowledge can help staff to better serve customers and allow for flexible career progression. Automated, customised training (driven by performance, interests and personal preferences) can be aligned with workforce management systems in place, heightening engagement among employees. 

4. Flexibility and a better work/life balance

The demand for flexible working continues to grow across all industries, with 71% of workers wanting more flexible, remote options post-Covid. Granted, this is more challenging for non-office based environments, including brick and mortar stores - however it’s not an impossible task.

Through automated workforce management, retailers can utilise scheduling technology to create fair staff rotas that boost flexible options and improve retail KPIs. Doing so contributes to a general feeling of trust and motivation. Employees are therefore more likely to work hard (and be productive) during shifts they’ve happily been given that align with their personal commitments.

5. Digitising manual processes

No one wants to be replaced by a machine, but there are still dozens of manual processes and menial tasks that take up a large proportion of employee time. Hours that could be better spent connecting with customers and making sales.

Inventory checking, task management and scheduling are just three areas that are commonly still executed via a legacy system - or worse, pen and paper. Doing so means updates aren’t communicated in real-time and human errors are more commonly made. 

By switching to a cloud-based system, retailers can save hundreds of hours that can be put straight back into revenue-generating tasks. Scheduling alone can take managers up to 9 hours a week. But through automatic scheduling, retailers can save labour costs, cater to employee needs and better forecast customer demand.


Find out more about Rotageek’s automatic scheduling solution and how leading retailers such as Lush, Gap and O2 have saved millions. Our team would love to discuss your business and how you can benefit today.

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