The adoption of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has never been so important as it is today. Amid the global Coronavirus pandemic, several countries are enforcing lock downs and stringent rules to contain the spread of the virus. In such testing times, retailers stare at two possible outcomes: either pull the shutters down or face an exponential increase in the demand for essential commodities. Either way, automation is the key to solve some of the major crises facing retailers today. In most factories, shops, and warehouses, physical robots are the extended hiring hands. But is there a more impactful role of RPA in retail? As more and more customers are pivoting towards online shopping, the US alone is likely to double online sales by 2023, reaching around 20-25% of the total sale in the retail sector (FTI Report). These numbers indicate that the industry is facing multiple challenges that require the reorganization of business processes. Therefore, it makes sense for retailers and FMCG distributors to digitize its workforce as part of its development strategy.

 

Common Use Cases of RPA in Retail

RPA in Retail: Use cases

Here’s how to start your RPA journey

Benefits of RPA In Retail

Amid phenomenally changing customer expectations and demand, managing inventory, collections and logistics orders needs to be done with utmost accuracy. Enterprise RPA can transform work and increase productivity, improve customer experience and give accurate and error-free results. In other words, integrated e-commerce services coupled with digital store capabilities can help companies easily double their conversion rates. Here are other ways RPA can be implemented to automate back-office processes while maintaining financial control and increasing efficiency.

 

Finance and Accounting

Software bots can be implemented to automate core accounting activities while helping in regulatory compliance. RPA can be deployed to track books and identify inefficiencies. It can streamline workflows related to invoice management and lower costs. Other areas where RPA can be implemented are procure-to-pay, order to cash, record to report, vendor management, incentive claims, collections, and sales order management. 

 

Supply Chain

RPA improves speed, capacity, cycle time and asset efficiency. It can save costs while improving, customer, employee and supplier satisfaction. In the supply chain, RPA can be deployed in multiple areas, including inventory management, invoice and contract management, freight management, supply and demand planning as well as returns processing. 

 

IT Services

With many retailers being asked to temporarily close physical stores due to the coronavirus scare, the demand for supplies continues to grow through e-commerce business. Amid social distancing, many retailers are providing essential commodities by taking online orders. This means that IT services also need to prepare for the rising demand and changing consumer behavior. Some of the ways IT can implement automation include data centers and servers monitoring, email processing and distribution, batch processing, and FTP download, upload as well as back up. 

 

With business moving online, analytics will be the key to success for many businesses. But analyzing a large volume of data can be tedious and time-consuming when done manually. Bots can provide real-time insights into customer behavior and help retailers and suppliers carry out a more effective analysis to manage inventory and boost sales opportunities. 

Read how a leading retailer was able to improve its ROI by 50%.

Other benefits of RPA in retail include: 

RPA in Retail - benefits

 

Final Thoughts

Retailers and distributors are coming to terms with the new normal as the pandemic continues to spread, holing consumers at home and changing the way they shop. With more and more employees working from home, automation seems to be the most feasible option for business continuity. Since no one truly knows what is going to happen in a month or a week from now, the answer to all problems seems to lie in RPA, which can be a helping hand amid tough times that lie ahead.

To know more about RPA and how you can include it as part of your development strategy, contact us today.