Serving Customers in the Current Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented change to all of our lives. As governments worldwide work to keep everyone safe, they have ordered widespread closure of nonessential businesses and a sudden end to normal day-to-day activity. Even businesses not affected by governmental decree have closed their locations to protect their workforce or respond to reduced demand caused by social distancing recommendations.
The week of March 27, 2020, saw a 97% year-over-year reduction in foot traffic to retail stores. In the U.S., this drastic reduction in commerce at brick-and-mortar locations is expected to last until at least April 30, if not longer.
Turning to eCommerce
Faced with the closing of the majority of retail outlets, the obvious solution to stay in business is to emphasize the eCommerce side of the business. But that can be harder than it sounds – particularly if loyal in-store customers are looking to shop from home with the same level of service and availability they are used to.
Some retailers are now finding that the catalog and fulfillment system provided by their online presence is not quite as robust as their normal on-site sales channels. Or even if it is a strong system, the two channels don’t normally talk to each other.
Many Retailers are trying to manage an e-commerce system that is a separate entity from their retail locations – almost as if they were operating two separate businesses at the same time. They may find that they have stock on store shelves that now can’t be sold because there is no way to quickly re-inventory that stock onto the website.
To solve this, retailers may have to manually move inventory from one system to another using a cumbersome data-entry system. They may even have to physically relocate items from shuttered stores to a fulfillment warehouse where it can be boxed and shipped out. With the reduction in overall retail traffic, now is not the time to turn away paying customers.
Teamwork has a better way
Teamwork Commerce offers a better solution. With Teamwork, your entire retail stock – warehouse, website, and store locations – is considered a single inventory. In addition, the Teamwork system connects to your vendors to facilitate drop-shipments and automated replenishment. We call this concept the endless aisle.
The endless aisle — combined with Teamwork’s real-time-availability database and order fill logic — allows our clients to display their entire stock of an item on their fully integrated eCommerce website. When the usual shipment center runs low on an item, customers can still place orders for items that are out for sale on the retail floor.
Help idle retail locations serve your customers
Under normal operating circumstances, the Order Management Systems allows the store associates to fill orders by grabbing items off the floor and shipping them directly to online customers. With the store’s front door closed, each retail location can operate as a miniature warehouse, making its items fully available to online customers. Teamwork treats a shipment from a store the same as a traditional warehouse-fulfilled order.
This immediately lets your store’s square footage continue to function and serve your customers. Shipping from several smaller locations might even be preferable in the current situation because a small retail store could be staffed by a single employee who can pack and ship orders without coming in contact with other employees.
Universal customer database
With Teamwork, your customers don’t need to create a separate online and in-store account. Customers stuck at home can still access your same product offerings and in-store benefits.
Programs such as loyalty points, coupons, gift cards, or other benefits are still accessible and applied online through the same account that was set up in the store.
This also speeds up customer interaction with the website, because customers can make use of any shipping addresses, sales history, payment methods, or other information that they have already provided.
Teamwork facilitates efficiency
As online sales take on the lion’s share of business, Teamwork’s Order Management System supports reallocation of items from one location to another. The automated or manual transfer order system allows you to balance stock where it’s needed most – down to specific styles and items. This powerful tool provides a way to consolidate stock or ensure that locations can utilize in-demand items from other locations.
Teamwork’s integration with vendors can provide drop-shipments from the vendor to your customers, delivering faster fulfillment and the assurance that you’ll never run out of popular items. Teamwork also offers automatic reordering when stock gets to your predefined levels.
Of course, all of these options are fully customizable. Teamwork clients can set and change stock levels and allocation whenever necessary, giving unparalleled agility to respond to immediate changes in conditions. When customers and store associates are ready to return to normal operations, Teamwork can get your stock where it needs to be.
Keep your business moving
With the rapid changes we are seeing worldwide in response to the current situation, the ability to act quickly and serve your customers — no matter where they are — is an essential part of any business. Teamwork allows our clients to become flexible, making adjustments to meet the demands of the market. Your customers count on you to be there for them and you can count on Teamwork to be there for you, even in the most extreme circumstances.
Interested in learning more about how Teamwork can help your business?
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