Retail Workflows & Process Definitions

Understand, Analyze & Improve Retailer Business Processes

What is a Retail Sales Flow Chart?

A retail sales work flow is a visual representation of the processes conducted by a retail organization. Retail sales flow charts, or workflows, are integral to the day-to-day operations of retail organizations. Retail sales flow charts illustrate each step of a purchasing, inventory, customer service, accounting, or other business process. Process models across the retail industry can look similar, due to well-established best practices that have had years to develop. Regardless, knowing these workflows helps retail sales organizations increase revenue by identifying process improvement opportunities and areas for automation.

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How to Choose Starting Steps in Retail Sales Process Workflow Analysis

Individual departments within a retail sales organization are likely to have adopted their own unique process flows. These workflows, however, are usually not standardized or optimized internally, resulting in reduced operational efficiency and hampered automation efforts. Instituting constant and proactive retail sales process management is the best way to get the full benefits with flow charts. A few processes ideas that can jump start your flow chart analysis for process improvement and robotic process automation initiatives include:

  1. Inventory Replenishment Process Flow: Standard work flow processes alongside review thresholds improves inventory replenishment cycle times by eliminating duplicate reviews and excessive back-and-forth communication.

  2. Purchasing Process: The purchasing process of a retail business can get bloated with backlogged requests, invoices, requisition forms, etc. A best practice process model alleviates these issues and can help prioritize requests and response times.

  3. Returns Processing: The returns process for any retail business can be hampered by incorrect product labelling, authorization delays, and more. Standardized returns flow charts can help keep returns processing on track.

Examining the Retail Sales Process Model

Each function in a retail sales business comes with its own set of unique activities. On a technical level, for example, a customer service process model will differ from a purchasing one. But retail is, arguably above all else, about catering to customers. With that in mind, there’s a broad, high-level business process that applies to many cycles in the retail industry:

  1. Product Knowledge: The acquiring of knowledge about a specific product or service.

  2. Prospecting: Searching for new customers, or identifying opportunities to pitch business.

  3. Approach: The beginning of relationship-building with customers while continuing to gather intelligence from the previous step.

  4. Needs Assessment: Gather intelligence relevant to the needs of the customer and how the product or service relates to them.

  5. Presentation: Relaying the results of the needs assessment to the customer.

  6. Close: Advancing process to its ultimate end, whether a sale or otherwise.

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