If you've ever lived in London and picked up dinner from a supermarket after a long day of work, you've experienced the new reality of grocery retail in the UK. 

It usually goes something like this. 

You step inside your local supermarket, take one look at the long, unmoving line and think I can't handle this right now. Then you walk straight into the supermarket across the street where the line is still long but at least all the self-checkouts are open and the floors are clean. 

Competition is fierce. Shopper expectations are high. And it's put retailers in a squeeze.

They're now facing two competing realities.

The first is that convenience, aesthetic appeal, freshness and the feel of a friendly local shop are all equally important to shoppers. And all this needs to happen with the same affordable prices we've come to expect. 

The second is that re-structuring, layoffs and general chaos in the industry have slashed the number of store personnel. 

Since the beginning of the year, 21,000 retail jobs have been lost or put at risk in the UK. This is expected to rise to almost a million by 2025.  

The pressure is on. 

Fewer personnel means fewer resources to make the experiences consumers want a reality. How can UK grocery retailers do more with less? 

By making store operations so efficient that staff can be good at everything and have more time to facilitate smooth customer journeys through the store. 

Store teams have to become generalists, because fewer employees means each one can make a massive difference.

"It's not my job" or " I don't know how to do that" are no longer excuses store staff can use when the overall experience slips. 

Departmentalised roles are quickly becoming extinct. 

Customers don't care that the store is short-staffed or that's it's peak time.

They want visual confirmation that the store team is facilitating the smooth running of the customer journey while getting help from a friendly, knowledgeable employee if they need it. 

To create these positive experiences for shoppers, store teams need more time. 

And that means store teams need clear, concise instructions from HQ, because there's no time to lose. 

Every minute store teams spend trying to figure out what the instructions are really saying about putting that display together is a minute spent not keeping all the self-checkouts open or helping customers.

Everyone knows that when the number of available self-checkouts is low, the number of stressed out shoppers in the queue is proportionately higher.

For every employee restocking the shelves when this should have been done 2 hours ago, one less person is helping shoppers get those unidentified items out of the bagging area.

Which means longer wait times and even more shoppers in the queue considering abandoning their armful of items and making a break for freedom. 

This is how customers join the ranks of competitors. It happens in a split second. 

To thrive when other retailers are feeling the squeeze, use engaged, knowledgeable staff to prevent situations like the ones above from happening.

To empower store staff to be good at anything that's thrown their way, they'll need a constant flow of information they can access on the go. 

If store teams are spending more time helping shoppers, they'll need to get operational and display tasks done faster. They'll need clearer instructions that eliminate confusion.  

That means equipping employees with technology that drives their productivity. 42% of retailers are actively investing in this area. 

Store teams at Aldi UK and Casino Groupe use the YOOBIC app to save time on operational and display tasks, so they can spend more time helping customers. If you're ready to maximise your store teams' productivity, we can help! 

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