3 Ways to Streamline Retail Operations and Boost Productivity

Running a retail store takes a lot of work. Store owners and managers find themselves wearing several hats, and doing everything from taking care of customers, to counting stock, and to crafting engaging product displays. 

“Busy” is often an understatement in the retail world, which is why it’s important to continuously find ways to save time and make your business more efficient. 

In this post, we’ll look at the steps you can take to do just that. Have a look at the pointers below and see if you can apply them to your retail operations. 

1. Automate manual work

Doing things manually is one of the biggest hindrances to productivity. Manual jobs take time and open up room for human error, both of which can keep you from completing more important tasks. 

It’s worth taking some time to identify the most tedious tasks in your business and see if you can automate them.

For example, if you’re still entering product details into your system by hand, consider upgrading to a point of sale and inventory management platform that streamlines the task through barcode scanning or bulk uploads. 

Still running a loyalty program using physical stamp cards? Perhaps it’s time to adopt a digital loyalty solution that uses your customer’s mobile number or email address. 

Each retail business is different, so the “right” tasks to automate depends on your existing setup. Typically, it’s best to start with jobs that are draining most of your time.

If you’re already using technology in your business — e.g., a cloud-based POS system, accounting software, etc., one way that you could increase your productivity is by integrating the applications that you’re already using. 

The key is to get your apps “talking” to each other so data flows smoothly from one program to the next. 

In retail, one of the most important integrations to have is the one between your POS system and your payment processor. With integrated payments, you eliminate the need to key in customer and credit card information at the checkout counter. 

Because your POS is connected to your payment processor, all the necessary information is ready when you initiate the process using your EFTPOS terminals. This results in faster checkout, fewer errors, and more time back in your day, thanks to the fact that you don’t have to perform end of day reconciliations. 

Vend Tip


Need an integrated payment system in your retail business? With Vend + NAB, you can say goodbye to double handling POS and EFTPOS. See data sync instantly between your NAB terminals and Vend point-of-sale. Gain back all the hours that you’d spent doing end-of-day reconciliation twice and figuring out discrepancies.

Learn More

Another key consideration when it comes to deciding which jobs to automate is to identify the things that are slowing down the shopping experience. Once again, integrated payments really come in handy here, because they allow you to speed up the checkout process. 

You no longer need to manually enter your customers’ payment data, which means you ring up sales quickly and get the lines moving faster. 

Discover how Vend + NAB can help you improve the checkout experience of your customers. 

2. Make data-backed decisions

Part of improving your productivity lies in knowing which areas to work on and prioritize. The best way to figure all that out is to rely on data. Tracking your retail metrics helps you figure out the right things to work on. 

Here are a couple of examples of how you could use your retail data to be more productive:

Know your sales and inventory numbers so you can make better business decisions

Knowing how your sales and products are performing is critical to retail decision-making. Having accurate data will help you decide where and how to spend your time and money.

It goes without saying that tracking your retail metrics should be streamlined and automated. Rather than manually combing through your sales data, use a solution that can crunch the numbers for you, so you can focus on gathering insights and taking action. 

Skate Connection, a sport and outdoor retailer with eight stores across Australia, serves as an excellent example of a retailer putting their data to good use. 

Co-founders Shelley Hedley and Brett Vowles use Vend’s reporting capabilities to make quick and productive business decisions. 

“The best thing I like about Vend is the main dashboard, where we can quickly have a glimpse into how the stores are tracking for the day. We can choose a specific store from the pull-down menu and compare sales with the previous week. At the bottom of the dashboard we can see how our major products are selling,” says Shelley. 

“I [also] use Product Type reports so we can easily see how each category — whether it’s scooters that month, or skateboards, or roller skates — is selling through. So based on our sales, we can adjust our inventory across our stores, see if there’s a category that’s underperforming and how to improve that.” 

Take a leaf out of Shelley and Brett’s playbook by being more data-centric in your business. Get your hands on the right retail reports and use them to make smarter decisions. 

Pay attention to your payments report  

Your payments report gives you a breakdown of how much money has been received for each payment type in your store over a period. This can be quite handy when you want to optimize the checkout experience or even lower costs. 

For example when you know that your customers are increasingly paying using contactless payments, then you can use that insight to invest in the right terminals. Or, if you have data around your credit card processing volume, you can leverage that to score better rates. 

The key to making payment reports work is to integrate your payment processor with your retail management system. You want payment data to automatically flow through your POS system, so you can generate reports with a click of a button. 

Vend Tip


Vend + NAB gives you more visibility into your payment data so you can streamline your operations, gain a better understanding of your business, and maximize your time and financial savings.

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Be aware of your peak hours, and optimize employee schedules accordingly

Your workforce is one of your most important resources, so see to it that you’re allocating your employees’ time well. The best way to do this is to look at your sales data. Use your point of sale or retail management system to drill down on sales per hour so you can determine your peak times and schedule shifts accordingly. 

3. Focus on outcomes, not just tasks

Increasing your productivity isn’t just about streamlining your actions — a big part of being more efficient lies in your mindset. You can focus on getting things done, but if your to-do list is filled with the wrong tasks, then you’re not really doing your business any favors. 

That’s why it’s so important to be outcome-driven and not task-driven when you’re looking to be more productive. Starting with an outcome in mind will help you figure out what jobs to focus on.

For instance, if your top goal is to drive sales, then you can come up with tasks based on that outcome, rather than haphazardly assigning to-dos to yourself or your team.

Combined with the right data (as mentioned above), focusing on outcomes instead of tasks boosts your productivity and lets you get the right things done. 

Ready to increase your productivity?

When it comes to boosting your productivity, one of the best places to start is with your payment integrations. Since the checkout process is such a critical part of your business, you need to ensure that it’s as efficient as possible. 

The right payment integrations can help you do just that. A standard payment processor enables you to accept credit and debit cards in your stores — but the right one can speed up your checkout process, make accounting and reconciliations easier, and even save you money. Ultimately, these factors contribute to higher store productivity, happier customers, and a more successful business.

Vend Tip


Need an integrated payment system in your retail business? With Vend + NAB, you can say goodbye to double handling POS and EFTPOS. See data sync instantly between your NAB terminals and Vend point-of-sale. Gain back all the hours that you’d spent doing end-of-day reconciliation twice and figuring out discrepancies.

Learn More

About Francesca Nicasio

Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.