Manual Retail Processes That Are Eating Into Your Profits

Two people working opposite one another at a white desk.

As your business grows, the number of systems you use increases to help to manage stock, products, sales, and finances efficiently.

Depending on whether you are bricks and mortar, eCommerce, or a mix of both, you may have a mix of systems for different teams and tasks. An EPOS is used by store staff, inventory systems for the warehouse and admin teams, accounting systems for the finance department, and eCommerce or marketplace systems serving your customers.

If your systems aren’t connected, it can be hard to keep them in sync. You will likely rely on team coordination and manual processes to move data between them. This could include adding and updating inventory, products and orders between systems via copying and pasting or even manually keying data.

But did you know that could be costing your business time and money?

The Cost of Manual Processes

All of those manual tasks really can stack up. Nearly 60% of workers estimate they could save at least six hours a week — almost an entire workday — if they could automate the manual parts of their jobs.

Let’s take a couple of real-world examples of retailers who are now automating their processes with TIDEConnects.

A small retailer

  • In a day, they do: 148 inventory updates, 21 product updates, and 22 sales.
  • Over the month, this equates to: 4440 inventory updates, 630 product updates, and 660 sales.

A medium-sized retailer

  • In a day, they do: 2,767 inventory updates, 207 product updates, and 233 sales.
  • Over the month, this equates to: 83,010 inventory updates, 6,210 product updates, and 6,990 sales.

These two retailers were previously manually copying this data from one system to another – that’s a lot of data!

Think about how much this is costing you in wages. In the UK, the average salary of retail admin is around £20k according to – approx. £11 per hour. If employees are often spending six or more hours each week on manual tasks, this could be costing your business at least £3,500 a year.

Human Errors That Add Up

There are multiple ways that retailers manually update one system to another, such as copying and pasting or manually keying in data.

Each technique is prone to human error, which can cause issues in incorrect stock levels and product details, or even customer’s parcels not being shipped correctly.

Suppose we take, for example, single-keyed data where accuracy is shown to be around 96% – doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Using the previous section’s two retailers as examples, we can put some figures together at this 4% error rate.

Small business:

  • 4440 inventory updates = 177 errors
  • 630 product updates = 25 errors
  • 660 sales = 26 errors

Medium business:

  • 83,010 inventory updates = 3320 errors
  • 6,210 product updates = 248 errors
  • 6,990 sales = 280 errors

Those error figures are high. We’re also assuming that there would be just one field in each of these scenarios, but in reality, there are likely to be several fields that need updating for each process. So the errors that would need to be fixed, in reality, would be much higher.

In addition, when manually entering data into simple spreadsheets, the probability of a human error was even higher, between 18% and 40%.

It’s a scary thought, isn’t it? How much inaccurate data might be creeping its way into your systems.

Use Your Staff to Their Full Potential

72% of workers say they would use that extra day (or more) a week saved by automation to do more valuable work for their organisations.

That time could be spent on important business growth activities for your business such as marketing, business improvements, new ideas and customer satisfaction.

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