Rapid response is essential. How can retail chains ensure safety and enforce new procedures during a pandemic?

A major challenge for retail chains is to now immediately implement new cleaning and hygiene procedures, which are being tightened on a daily basis. At the same time, stores must show the maximum care for the safety of staff and customers. In addition, they are increasing the efficiency of e-commerce sales channels. All these processes can be simplified by modern technology helping in delegating tasks and reporting on their proper execution. According to experts, providing employees with the appropriate software would speed up their work as well as the execution of online orders.

New challenges during the pandemic

During the pandemic, procedures for cleanliness and hygiene in shops were tightened. These are unprecedented events in modern trade. Compliance with the new restrictions at the highest level is now essential for the safety of both employees and customers as well as the smooth functioning of shops. An additional difficulty is that the rules of work are changing dynamically. The whole sales process needs to be improved.

It should be noted that regulations concerning keeping a safe distance between people or hygiene rules are being tightened on a daily basis. They apply to both employees and customers, which affects the complete reorganisation of points of sale. At the time of opening the stores, thousands of employees must know how to proceed, although the rules are different from those the day before.

Digitalisation = flexibility

Retailers should be more flexible and ready to act than before the pandemic, as rapid response to change is essential for their operations. The new procedures must be implemented immediately and consistently across all stores. In this situation, shops can be supported by technology that would regularly remind employees of important tasks.

“All procedures, such as cleaning and letting customers in and out of the stores, can now be transferred via mobile applications. Such software also allows for verification of whether the tasks have been performed correctly. It is much faster and more reliable than using traditional solutions such as an individual’s signature, e-mail or a piece of paper with a table. In the current situation it is almost a necessary tool”, says Krzysztof Badowski, a partner in the PwC consulting company, responsible for services for the consumer goods and retail sector.

Easy delegation, reminders and guidelines

TakeTask is a software for delegating tasks as well as providing an immediate evaluation of the result and mutual feedback. It also reports who (e.g. employees/staff) has read the latest guidelines before starting work, which allows for constant control.

In the times of a pandemic, there is no room for negligence or forgetfulness. You need to have full control over the implementation of designated processes. Modern technology supports the objective verification of their execution, for example, by means of a time stamp, photo/video documentation or QR scanning.

With the reduction of the work of the field audit force, regular inspection is very difficult. Mobile applications can partially replace it. First of all, they allow for efficient self-auditing by performing the most important processes and providing quick and simple feedback. Thanks to such a system, everyone can feel safer inside stores. The operation additionally gains comfort of work.

“Currently, everyone is struggling with an increased level of stress, especially employees of retail chains. Good organisation makes their work easier. New tasks and instructions can be immediately delivered directly to those responsible through such applications. Without any training, everyone can follow new guidelines, it is a great facilitation” points out Krzysztof Badowski.

Efficient communication is the key

Communication in this way is efficient, precise and saves time regardless of whether employees are in different locations or in one. The modern communication system allows for minimising or even completely excluding personal contact between individual employee and manager shifts. This also increases work safety during the times of the pandemic.

“Due to social isolation, consumer behaviour has also changed significantly. Shops, which handle both online and in-store shopping at the same time, are now experiencing a real siege. In this respect, modern technologies can also be helpful, literally simplifying order processing” adds the expert from TakeTask.

After integration with e-commerce, the application can provide the employee with tasks containing a list of products to be packed for the client in a ‘click & collect’ service mode. This activity can be attached to the daily duties of a given person, increasing the efficiency of the whole system. Furthermore, this will surely be appreciated by the consumers themselves.

TakeTask during the pandemic

It is worth mentioning that in this crisis situation, apart from numerous implementations in retail chains, TakeTask prepared, in cooperation with the Ministry of Digital Affairs, the "Home Quarantine Monitoring" application. Fast and efficient implementation of this system is an answer to a real social need, which is signalled by everyone, by, for example, using ‘#StayAtHome’, the newly popular saying hashtag on social media. For stores, this may mean that this type of solution is trustworthy and works even in the most extreme of conditions.

Among many other projects (even global IT leaders), the TakeTask software has been chosen, because it is a stable solution, ready for quick implementation and has the full range of expected functionalities. This allowed for the implementation of the new system in just 48 hours. An additional advantage was the high attention paid to data security. The application has been extensively tested by Poland Internal Security Agency in terms of cybersecurity. It also works with all necessary security features on a dedicated Microsoft Azure server, managed by the Ministry of Digital Affairs.

Find out more about in-store operations optimisation provided by TakeTask.