How 3 Retailers are Adapting to Changing Demand

It’s rush hour, and your team of two is serving customers at the checkout as fast as they can. But no matter how much they get ahead, the cash registers are still understaffed. Customers have lost their patience and left their spots in line. Then before you know it, they’re headed to your competitor’s store.

As a retailer, this scenario may sound all too familiar. On the flip side, you can probably recall times when you scheduled too many staff during slower hours of the week — and your profit margins felt the pain.

The truth is that maintaining the perfect staffing levels across your stores, year-round, through fluctuating peaks and lulls in demand is no easy task. That is, unless you have the right labour forecasting and demand planning software for your industry. 

With wages being one of the most significant costs for any business, it’s essential to have an effective way to forecast labour demand well ahead of time, schedule employees to match that demand (and labour budgets), and have a demand planning tool that simplifies last-minute tweaks.

Learn how three retailers are successfully adapting by using smart demand planning software, insights, and optimisations.

Trek Bikes

Trek Bikes is thriving in over 100 countries globally. With so many stores to manage, it’s essential they stay on top of changing demand and their labour budgets.

Their business has been successfully doing just that, planning perfect staff ratios and creating cost-efficient rosters with Deputy’s labour forecasting and demand planning software. 

These demand planning tools allow businesses to bring together a range of demand metrics in one place, so they can accurately forecast their labour needs and build schedules to match. These demand metrics can include sales, foot traffic, and orders, as well as analysis of local events, the time of year, and the weather.

Tom Spoke, their Global Director of IT-ERP, says that paying attention to their sales per hour metric, in particular, has helped his storefronts “be smart when scheduling.” They can forecast demand by demographic, sales history data, weather, and foot traffic patterns. 

With real-time demand forecasting insights, his team can ensure they have enough staff to support busy days and avoid overspending on labour costs during slower days.

“When it comes to building a schedule, we need to stay within our budget from a store standpoint and make sure we don’t have too many staff scheduled at the wrong times on the wrong days.”

Ace Hardware

Lance Stillwaugh owns two Ace Hardware stores in Colorado. He keeps up with changing demand by being super nimble with staffing — and keeping a very close eye on payroll costs as a percentage of sales. 

He’s invested in scheduling and demand planning software that tracks his payroll cost percentage and allows him to easily shift his staffing up or down with demand in a heartbeat. This allows him to ensure the right staff coverage at the right times and keep labour costs within budget.

“By monitoring your payroll as a percentage of sales by day, by week, and track it monthly, by the end of the year, you know where you’re going to end up, and it’s not a surprise,” Lance shares.

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Across two of his stores, he’s been able to reduce payroll costs as a percentage of sales by 10% YOY because of his investment in smart labour forecasting and demand planning tools.

“The two things that eat up cash are payroll and inventory. We want to ensure we have the right people on schedule to help the customers. But then we don’t want to spend a lot of money and waste a lot of labour when it’s not necessary.”

“I like the fact that we can look at the dashboard and see the stats page, make adjustments in the middle of the week if necessary, move people into different roles, and schedule a little heavy on some if we think things are going to be busier.”

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With labour costs trending higher, retailers can’t afford to hire too many admin staff who spend hours on tasks that could be automated.

UNTUCKit has saved time and reduced workloads by investing in smart scheduling, time tracking, and demand planning tools that help automate in-store operations like managing staff attendance, payroll, and labour budgets.

Before using a smart system, Michael Saldana, UNTUCKit’s Retail and Ops Manager, explained that their old process was quite ineffective and time-consuming: “We were typing shifts into a spreadsheet with formulas that would track spend. You had to hope that people were scheduling to the budget.”

As a manager, his top priority is to streamline processes and ensure that employees spend less time on activities that do not generate dollars.

Their investment has paid off as they’ve reduced their employee management admin by 50% across 45 stores. This has allowed UNTUCKit staff to focus more on customers on the sales floor.

“The time savings has allowed us to keep people on the sales floor and have more time being able to cultivate and build sales –  leading to higher sales days.”

Adjusting to change

Adapting to new trends, changing demand, and consumer spending habits are not easy tasks for most retailers. But they are possible with the right investments in labour forecasting software, demand planning tools, and budget tracking systems.

To stay ahead of the game in retail, deliver the best experiences for your customers, and maintain healthy profit margins, check out our labour forecasting and demand planning software today.

Want to learn more? Book time with our team today. Discover how Deputy can help you lower labour costs and optimise shift coverage with Smart Scheduling tools in 15 minutes or less.
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