NestForms and the Retail sector

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Can't say I like shopping personally, I just want to get the hell out of there, the special offers, the advertising and that person who works in every clothes shop ‘Are you ok there sir?’. Do I look as if I'm stressed? There's a good chance I am. Don't even mention Christmas markets. Slow torture would be the best description.

Then there's the supermarket. I find it really annoying when you get to the checkout and that item turns out to be a quid more expensive than what the price said on the shelf. Tell me you've not been there! What about the special offers, not so special when you look at your receipt and you've paid top whack. You're usually out of the shop and down the road before you realise you've been done. I mean, mistakes happen, but it's frustrating when the shoppers' experience/expectations are dashed by pricing errors and what looks to be bad communication between either people or the outlet operating systems. 

I suppose going shopping for most people is a pleasant experience within what looks like highly organised pristine conditions, well lit and with lots of friendly faces

The back of the shop is equally important to the operation, the night shifts, the warehouse, forklifts, pallets, suppliers and delivery. There's a lot going on, things can and will go wrong. There is technology out there that management can employ to minimise disruption, assist in scheduling, effective communication and generally take the strain off creaking business systems during peak hours and closure. In larger stores many aspects of the retail operation will begin or carry on after the store closes.

In fairness though, everyday retail staff are striving to provide an efficient and customer friendly service whether it be in a small retail outlet or a large supermarket. As in most businesses what happens behind the scenes is an important factor in how well an operation is run. This is the part people don't see or even think about.

Consider the warehouse as the engine driving shop floor if you like. Good communication between shop floors and warehouses is hugely important. The more finely tuned a warehouse operation, the more an outlet can benefit from efficient stock control, rotation, replenishment, people management and shop floor communication. Sure, I know it must take patience and skill to deal with the likes of me on a shop floor but the backroom staff need to be on the ball as well.

Lets not forget the customer. I'm hard to please. I'm picky, but so are a lot of people. I'm the one in the aisle on  hands and knees pulling out the loaf from the very back of the shelf. I know the fresh stuff is there. Lots of people do. I don't want the older stuff at the front. What are customer habits and traits? Customer satisfaction is the driver for the shop's success. Keeping people happy and satisfied means they'll come back regularly. Customer loyalty must be so important to the High Street, especially now that businesses are gradually starting to reopen after COVID restrictions. Sadly, many of our favourite outlets will have gone out of business.      

Stock Checks
The mobile survey app can be really useful for small retail outlets and large supermarkets. On a large supermarket shop floor, team leaders are often tasked to carry out stock checks on their sections. Stock checks are equally important for the small retailer. On the NestForms platform, a form can be created using numerical or calculate components to assist with stock counts on the shop floor or warehouse. Any counts can be shared instantaneously and more often by the staff involved to a central administrator saving time and manpower. Accurate and regular counts on the shop floor mean that stock rotation is efficient which in turn will drive up sales. The mobile survey app could be useful for creating a simple form for a targeted or specific stock check on a certain product which in turn will assist in sales, promotion and customer awareness.

Stock Management
Warehouse staff are able to quickly prepare stock based on information received from the shop floor.  This work can be controlled by a central administrator who can see activity within departments from responders using the mobile survey app on the ground. Section managers are able to respond to a form that includes number components assisting in not only stock checks but also the numbers of items to be replenished on shelves.

Elements of your own internal inventory management systems can be integrated into NestForms via custom DB. This allows your inventory to be managed in Real Time. Stock check returns can be updated straightaway. Information on inventories can be linked to barcode and QR codes or other relevant data. Store catalogues or maybe purchase orders can be linked to inventories assisting in checking if an item is in stock. By using Custom DB your own data can be imported into the NestForms mobile data survey app in a tailored manner to suit your administrative requirements. 

QR & Barcode scanning
There's no way of getting away from them. One day there could be a barcode in the middle of our foreheads.
I remember my first job stacking the shelves at our local supermarket as a fresh faced teenager. You would set the price on this pricing gun that shot out the stickers on the tops of the soup tins or whatever you were putting on the shelves. A whole pallet of them, I got really quick at it in the end. Nowadays and quickly getting away from my age, QR and Barcode scanning plays a huge part within retail for product pricing, identification, inventory and warehouse management. The NestForms mobile survey app includes a QR and Barcode scanning component that an administrator can include on any forms created for shop floor activities or warehouse stock management.

Stock Control - Damages/Wastage
Wasted or damaged items can be accounted for in an efficient manner by using a mobile survey app. Images, comments and numerical components can be used for counting, recording and describing damages. Where staff have been tasked to account for any damages within their shop floor section or within the warehouse, the ability to clone a section means that comments and images can be listed consecutively within a form. Damaged items can also be accounted for and identified by using the QR and Barcode scanning component. Forms can easily be created by an administrator for snap audits in sections or warehouses where items or staff need to be monitored closely.  

There is also a signature component where accountability is required for certain aspects of work. The signature component also includes a lock feature meaning that important information or figures can’t be altered after submission.

Health and Safety in retail
As with any other employment sector, Health and Safety practice in retail outlets is vital and equally as important. This is made more so by the fact that as well as the protection of employees, there are large numbers of customers on the premises to be considered as well. On shop floors or warehouses any members of staff can volunteer to become a Safety Representative for their area. These Reps are perfectly entitled to inspect any shop floor sections or other areas of concern. 

Using a mobile survey app such as NestForms, the member of staff can carry out an inspection using a mobile form that includes dates, times, edit and images components highlighting any problems or unsafe practice. The administrator can embed important notes for the rep within the form. Safety inspection forms can easily be shared to reps within other sections or to management for action. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic some retailers have used mobile survey apps to gauge customer footfall within the shop as regards to the numbers of people on the premises, assisting in compliance with restrictions and social distancing. 

The NestForms mobile survey app can be used to support many aspects of Health and Safety practice in the retail workplace.

Customer surveys, feedback and merchandising
Retail outlets will sometimes use surveys to help improve the customer experience or perhaps to drive sales. Using a mobile survey app, an administrator can create a form for shop floor staff carrying out the survey, perfect for gauging opinions, preferences and shop floor experience. 

Images, comments and notes can be inserted onto the form assisting the customer in identifying with certain products. A Single answer component can be included for questions requiring yes/no answers. Dropdown and multiple answer components can be used to give a customer a choice range. There is a component that will provide for customer comment. There is also a number component, useful for the responder in obtaining customer information, for example, how many times they might visit the store. Skip logic allows the interviewer to bypass irrelevant questions or to move to other sections based on earlier answers provided by the customer improving the survey experience.

There are other important components that can be included on a survey form created on the NestForms mobile survey app. Surveys can be restarted quickly for each new customer. Sections can be cloned allowing consecutive customer inputs for the same item or product. Administrators or management teams can analyse data rapidly through charts and graphs. The NestForms mobile survey app allows retail outlets to include their own brand name or perhaps product brand names on any forms created. 

You can find out more about the NestForms mobile survey app on the NestForms website. You can also view a short video on how the app works on the homepage.

You can also learn more on how to use our formbuilder by getting a better understanding of NestForms

Finally, if you would like a chance to try out NestForms, you can sign up for free and your first two weeks begin with a free trial of the system as a premium user.

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