The New SaaS in Retail

Blog The New SaaS in Retail

April 1, 2015

Kylie is a store manager in charge of 15 salespeople at a local retail store with high traffic volumes. While struggling to meet the sales goals for each week, she also has to worry about properly scheduling the store’s employees. Karen and Lisa are two coworkers who have some interpersonal issues and do not wish to work the same shifts. Sarah frequently decides to take the day off with very short notice. Does this situation sound familiar to you?

Kylie is one of a multitude of store managers facing the challenges of an ever competitive retail environment where budget is constrained, more time is spent on administrative tasks, workers are becoming more frustrated due to unpredictable hours, and customers walk out because they can’t find the help they need. She spends more than 5 hours a week re-doing schedules generated by the enterprise solution her company just deployed after 2 years of customization and millions spent in development. This is because the output doesn’t reflect even the basic constraints of avoiding consecutive closing and opening shifts or preferences such as scheduling her star performers at peak times. Moreover, because her budgets and schedules are based only on staffing to historical sales, over 50% of the time she is either overstaffed, which negatively impacts her margins, or understaffed, which results in lost sales opportunity. And the significant time she spends on scheduling takes time away from engaging customers and managing her employees, who are constantly stressed from being understaffed.

But what if, instead of having to allocate hours every week to manually develop these schedules, Kylie was able to leverage a service that delivered a near perfect schedule right to her doorstep— A service that incorporates customer demand based on traffic data collected from in-store sensors? And what if it could factor in other criteria such as weather, marketing calendars, traffic patterns, and POS to create a truly accurate traffic forecast? And what if this service could match the forecast to employee availability and automatically learn manager’s preferences to create an accurate schedule? And lastly, what if it gave Kylie the extra time and flexibility to spend time on the things that matter? Tom has requested Friday evening off — should he get it? Your sales on Saturday are likely to be around 40K USD — are you OK with that? Here’s the schedule for next week — would you like to make any edits? And all without Kylie having to invest months learning yet another complex enterprise software package? Sounds too good to be true.

This is the power of Percolata’s scheduling service. We like to describe it as a new form of SaaS, wherein we go far beyond just providing software as a service. It’s a surprisingly affordable “white glove” service that delivers an accurate and reliable schedule to the store manager, based on the aforementioned inputs so that store managers are not burdened with the heavy lifting of accessing yet another system and allocating hours to develop, modify, and publish the schedule each week. As a result, Kylie can re-allocate her time to more proactively managing her employees and providing quality customer service, which in turn drives customer spending and employee loyalty. Her employees are happy because they get more predictable, reliable schedules which address the peaks and valleys of store traffic. And finally, the corporate office is pleased to see the uptick in sales due to improved customer experience. In short, Kylie becomes the heroine of the day, exceeding her sales targets with the same budget!

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