Intelligent SME.tech Issue 15 - Page 37

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how retailers scaling with intelligent automation are seeing significant improvements across multiple business divisions .
Sales Director , Future WorkForce , discusses how Robotic Process Automation ( RPA ) is being used in the retail sector and
With the COVID-19 pandemic having accelerated the need for SMEs to adopt automation as customer demands ramp up , retailers are keen to identify technologies that will help them obtain a competitive advantage . Alastair Roriston , UK

How RPA can help SMEs with online retail growth

ETAILERS ARE RAPIDLY

R adopting Robotic Process Automation ( RPA ) as they look to improve customer experience , supply chains , marketing and business operations to meet changing market conditions .

While successive lockdowns and social distancing restrictions accelerated online retail growth , the effect on retailer operations is not temporary . Many SMEs have had to develop websites and commence e-commerce operations to stay in business . It was expected that by 2023 online sales would account for a quarter of the overall retail industry . The global pandemic brought that figure forward and in May 2021 the UK ’ s ONS reported that 28.4 % of retail sales were online .
Today ’ s consumers are becoming more demanding , which is against the difficulty retailers have been experiencing post- Brexit and during the pandemic . Not only do consumers expect a faster digital shopping experience without error , but they also want impeccable customer service . So how is RPA helping the SME retail sector ?
A consumer ’ s purchase of goods is the concluding step of a comprehensive supply chain . Each link in the chain adds to the cost of goods sold . Therefore , anything that reduces cost or improves the service deliverable optimises the retailers ’ profit margins and enhances the consumer experience .
RPA is being used in retail to support teams in various parts of the operation , from inventory management , human resources , supply chain , order and returns processing , store planning , contract management and delivery logistics . Although most of the attention for RPA focuses around the large retailers it also has a part to play for SMEs . By automating parts of these processes , improved efficiencies are being created along the supply chain , which means staff have more time to focus on improving customer service and more strategic issues .
Retailers can also expect efficiencies from intelligent automation in supporting areas like hiring , payroll , training and health and safety .
For SMEs , there are companies that will set up intelligent automation on a monthly subscription basis so that there is no huge upfront cost .

ANYTHING THAT REDUCES COST OR IMPROVES THE SERVICE DELIVERABLE OPTIMISES THE RETAILERS ’ PROFIT MARGINS AND ENHANCES THE CONSUMER EXPERIENCE .
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