Why you should consider a mobile first approach to planning

By using smartphones actively in retail stores, you free up time and smoothen communication between managers and employees.

Smartphones are everywhere these days. When not making calls or browsing the internet, people book vacations, pay for parking and watch YouTube cat videos on their phones. A UK study even suggests that the average Briton checks their mobile phone every 12 minutes and spend 24 hours every week online.

Although this tendency might be worrying on a societal level, the prevalence of smartphones offers great opportunities for retailers.

Christian Skjetne is Head of Mobile in SameSystem. Having worked four years with management in Illum, a Scandinavian department store chain, Skjetne is familiar with the inner workings of the retail industry and knows the advantages of digitalizing administration in stores.

Christian Skjetne

Head of Mobile, SameSystem

“I have met a lot of retailers who consider technology to be a necessary evil, but there are so many advantages and opportunities for the retail industry just waiting to be explored. Smartphones are an essential instrument in this regard because they allow for easy exchange of information,” Skjetne says.


Free up time for shop managers

When designing a software solution with a mobile first approach, you give priority to the mobile experience. By making smartphones an integral part of workforce management, more information is available to shop managers, which makes it easier for them to plan and administer their stores.

“The more input shop managers get from employees, the easier it is for them to plan. Most retail employees have smartphones anyway, so they might as well use them to check in and out, request vacation and respond to shift requests etc. That way, shop managers only need to approve plans in the system. The rest is basically set up for them. “

By reducing administration for shop managers, they have more time to spend on the shop floor, explains Skjetne.

“Without a mobile first approach to shift planning, shop managers often have to call around when they are unexpectedly understaffed. That is a time-consuming process, which could easily be avoided with an open shift function that notifies all employees and allow them to respond in the app.

In an industry where there is a direct correlation between how much time managers spend on the floor and how much they sell, this is vital.”


Added flexibility for employees

A mobile first approach to planning and administration doesn’t only benefit shop managers. For employees, it often brings more flexibility and better communication with their colleagues and managers.

“It is a lot easier for employees to respond to notifications and requests on an app. With a native app, you don’t have to respond to phone calls or open a computer and log in every time your manager sends you a message or wants you to take an extra shift. You have a tool at hand that allows you to respond easily and quickly.”

Time registration through apps also ensures that employees are paid for the work they do – no more, no less.

“If employees show up on time and regularly do extra shifts or work overtime, time registration – where they check in on their phones – is a big advantage. There is never any doubt about how much time they have worked or what supplements they are entitled to, which means they will always be paid correctly. “


Mobile first activates a whole chain of employees

The way Christian Skjetne sees it, a mobile first approach frees up resources for all levels of employees.

“By activating bottom-level employees, you are activating a whole chain. Sales assistants have more autonomy when it comes to communication and registration, which frees up time for managers and allows for more accurate reports. These reports in turn give top-level employees a much better overview of their stores. It is a win-win.”

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