Decentralized Service for Department Stores
There is a big push in some circle to “decentralize” operations. This typically is spoken of in reference to department stores, but refers to some aspect of blockchain technology or some crypto-something lingo. The truth is, in retail, centralization is much more efficient and effective on so many levels. That does not mean, however, that decentralization doesn’t have its place.
What Can Retailers Decentralize?
Department stores serve a useful purpose in the world of retail. They allow customers to shop in one location for a variety of needs. For that reason, department store managers have special customer service challenges. What do you do if a customer only wants to shop in one or two departments before leaving the store?
The challenge is multi-layered.
- Are those departments on opposite ends of the store or in close proximity? This has implication for store layout and merchandising.
- Where are your cash registers? Is the customer forced to check out at one location, and is that location somewhere other than both of those departments where they want to shop?
- If a customer wants to check out in one department before shopping in the other department, are they allowed to do that?
- Who gets the commission on those sales in each department?
As you can see, there are a ton of questions that can be asked about how the customer service is handled and how employee productivity is handled. This is one good reason to lay out your store in such a way that shoppers find it easy to navigate from one department to another and can check out from any department within the store at any time during their shopping experience. In other words, decentralizing your point of sale makes sense if it serves the customer, but your operations should remain centralized.
Feed The Centralized Database
While you can allow your department store customers to check out of your store from any department and allow them to check out multiple times, or just once, during each store visit, all transactional data should be fed to one central database so that you can pay your employees for their production no matter where your customer checks out.
If a customer buys a red dress from the women’s department and checks out in sports after buying a tennis racket, you want the employees in both departments to compensated for their work while the customer has a seamless shopping experience. If you’re department store operations solution doesn’t allow you to do that, you’re using the wrong one.