Over 4.9 trillion dollars in retail transactions are envisioned to occur globally between 2021 and 2022. According to projections, this amount will increase by 50% over the following years, reaching around $7.4 trillion by 2025. With such growth, many organizations are scrambling to increase productivity, cut costs, and streamline workflows. This is where Robotic Process Automation or RPA in the retail sector comes into the picture.

One way to improve the efficiency and accuracy of multiple tasks that call for accuracy and speed is through the usage of RPA in the retail industry. So, what exactly is RPA in e-commerce or retail?

Read on to learn more about:

  • RPA in the retail sector
  • Benefits of robotic process automation in the retail industry
  • RPA use cases in retail


What is RPA in the Retail Sector?

RPA in the retail sector involves the application of cutting-edge technology to streamline time-consuming, high-volume processes in retail. Robotic process automation in the retail industry helps to enhance workflow and automate corporate processes to improve customer satisfaction.

By eliminating the manual tasks that employees typically usually undertake, robotic process automation boosts the productivity of the retail sector.

Within the retail sector, RPA finds use-cases in many emerging business segments. For example, RPA in e-commerce brings inefficiencies in a business the hallmark of which is considered to be lean teams and being capital light.

Further, RPA in FMCG increases product availability to meet market demand, and with correct pricing and verification of sales per product sold, it guarantees speedy product sales.


Benefits of Robotic Process Automation in the Retail Industry

Robotic process automation in the retail industry helps to simplify some of the most fundamental industry activities. These could be activities like product scanning and identification, data input, and data cleaning, which leads to better inventory management and better data analytics.

Use Cases of RPA in the Retail Sector

Other benefits of RPA in e-commerce include:

  • It ensures real-time analytics of sales and inventories for effective planning which makes it easy to develop quality products faster to meet customers’ needs and demand and offers
  • RPA in the retail sector decreases errors in any activity, in general, and increases operational effectiveness.
  • Specifically, RPA in the retail sector has been seen to increase in client satisfaction by processing orders and returns more quickly.
  • In a fast-paced industry like the retail industry, RPA ensures proper compliance in whichever process it is involved in.

In addition, RPA use cases in retail can be automated in areas like inventory management, invoice and order processing, customer inquiries, and so on.


RPA Use Cases in the Retail Sector

With RPA, there is more to gain in the retail industry because several tasks can be automated in different contexts, such as:

1. Invoice Processing

You can imagine how stressful processing invoices is for employees in the retail sector. Receiving a supplier’s invoice, authorizing it, setting a reimbursement date, paying the invoice, and then recording it in the general ledger can be daunting. This is because the same procedure is followed each time a customer demands a product.

Processing invoices for these sales could be a hassle, and you might make mistakes. Not only is processing bills time-consuming, but it’s also incredibly monotonous. The number of paperwork employees resolves causes them to waste hours on a few jobs. And this slows down the business output, which is why this aspect of retail needs automation.

With RPA in the retail sector, information gathering, data sorting, and bill processing are significantly faster and error-free.


2. Demand and Supply Planning

Demand planning is a cross-functional chain management method for forecasting or predicting product demand to guarantee delivery and customer satisfaction. On the other hand, supply planning entails organizing manufacturing and distribution activities based on the market demand for the product.

The objective is to find a balance between maintaining adequate inventory levels to satisfy client needs while avoiding having a surplus. Searching and compiling enormous amounts of data and standardizing them is crucial for supply planning. Performing them with human labor might be problematic as there may be errors, and this activity demands accuracy and efficiency.

Robotic process automation in the retail industry will assist in making sure these operations are error-free. Retailers would benefit from adopting RPA technologies by having more capacity, better asset management, and happier customers, suppliers, and staff.


3. Returns Processing

The return process starts when a consumer is not happy or complains about the product after purchase. Customers may need to return an item for different reasons, including depreciation or, in the case of apparel, the wrong size or color.

However, manually executing this process could take a long time. So, there might be a need for a faster way to do this as there might be more of such issues, and if customers do not get a quick response, the business suffers.

RPA in retail efficiently makes the necessary alterations to the inventory database and customer billing. RPA makes it simpler to quickly execute a return for a replacement item that is either similar or different, a refund in the original form of purchase, or a shop credit.


4. Workflow and Customer Management

Providing real-time information to customers and offering customer service 24 hours a day has become crucial in e-commerce. RPA in the retail sector helps to manage the HR operations, and workflow, and improve the efficiency and convenience of customer service.

It simplifies the process of allocating shifts, evaluating staff performance, monitoring time and attendance, auditing sales, payroll, and leave administration.

Additionally, the system monitors orders from the time they are placed and notifies customers in real time of any changes. Truly, Robotic process automation generally makes everything simpler.


5. Register / Cashier reporting

If you must manually write cashier reports, it takes a lot of time; and you run the risk of making mistakes. Compiling customer data arriving from the cash register requires precision and carefulness.

RPA in retail allows for the generation of cashier reports by automating the processes for extracting data from each register ID database. RPA in retail makes it possible to describe net and gross revenues made, the number of clients served, and the number of invalid receipts.


6. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Management

Accounting, price adjustments, accounts payable and receivable, and other tasks are all included in ERP. Additionally, hiring numerous individuals to verify and transfer papers is a wasteful use of company resources.

RPA greatly reduces the need for human labor in the retail industry. It improves the effectiveness of inventory management. Companies can create sophisticated automated systems that can cleverly validate documents of various types and formats using AI and ML algorithms.

RPA in the retail sector can assist in reporting inventory flow and sending alerts and notifications about stock shortages to the appropriate staff.

On the other hand, RPA in the FMCG industry can help you maintain inventory control by facilitating smooth interaction between supplier systems and warehouses.


Conclusion – RPA in the Retail sector

As businesses now understand the need to automate business operations, robotic process automation (RPA) is gaining enormous momentum across all industries. RPA in the FMCG and other retail industries enables businesses to effectively handle account modification, invoices, statements, and reconciliation tasks that call for little to no human involvement.

RPA in the retail sector facilitates efficient trade promotions, store-specific planning, new product debuts, and consumer onboarding from websites.