Retailers should digitise to ensure compliance

Retail compliance is a necessary evil for businesses to get to grips with quickly if they want to stay profitable, resilient, and away from any lawsuits but going digital to stay compliant also brings a myriad of benefits according to Sam Roberts, Retail Sector Director at mpro5.

From recording visitor numbers and fire drills to checking the in-store toilets and monitoring food temperatures, these duties help to keep both staff and customers safe and uphold the brand’s reputation. Not only that, but the accompanying records are essential for demonstrating compliance with the relevant legislation.

For most people, just the thought of recording this volume of data is daunting, but when you consider that many retailers are still relying on paper logbooks to document these actions, the prospect of maintaining retail compliance becomes even more challenging.

Compliance failure is incredibly costly

In 2008, a supermarket was publicly criticised for its lack of cleanliness and general health and safety record following several incidents, with one case even resulting in a customer being awarded £10,500 for injuries they sustained after slipping on a grape while shopping in-store.

It doesn’t just cost money; lives have been and still are lost due to allergens in food. Last October, the UK Government introduced Natasha’s Law creating new, strict regulations on allergen labelling to avoid any more tragic deaths due to allergy reactions.

In the future, we are bound to see new and strict rules on sustainability initiatives and net-zero, and lawsuits should they fail to comply. For example, in September, Client Earth warned ‘Big Food’ that many are failing to disclose the financial impacts of their reliance on plastics.

The problem with paper

Major retailers can amass hundreds of different physical logbooks, all needing to be filled out regularly, a laborious, time-consuming and ultimately inefficient task multiplied across thousands of stores around the country.

There are additional challenges posed just by the retail environment itself. The reality of working on a busy shop floor often means compliance-related tasks aren’t completed or recorded on time, or else not carried out at all. Even when procedures are followed and documented, paper-based records can be filled out incorrectly, easily falsified, or even lost.

It’s time for a digital solution

Many businesses are now moving away from paper logbooks in favour of digital reporting software. Unlike paper records, which can be easily backdated, digital logbooks are date and time-stamped when the user completes the check.

Not only does this provide tangible proof that the necessary steps have been taken, but it encourages workers to complete the required action on time. It also gives businesses more confidence that they’re complying with the relevant legislation. But perhaps most importantly, it demonstrates that a business is truly committed to keeping its customers safe.

Digital compliance can bring about transformation

Waving goodbye to paper logbooks has obvious advantages, but that’s not to say this transformation is just about compliance. Digitisation will bring about cultural change, making compliance a central task rather than a peripheral chore.

Your operational teams will appreciate the increased accountability and clarity around compliance. Optimising processes and freeing-up your colleagues' time so they can better focus on delivering great service is one benefit, as are the cost savings and better protection against litigation and for customers and staff.

It's the improved customer experience that makes a digital solution so compelling. Going digital enables retailers to deliver a consistent, safe, and high-quality shopping experience that will stand out from the crowd. While adoption can be daunting, the benefits of moving to a digital management platform ultimately make the journey worthwhile.

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