3 ways exception reports can improve retail operations
There is an exception to every rule, except for when it comes to the necessity of referencing exception reports. These reports are vital to the success of any merchant, as they allow sellers to quickly identify outliers (or “exceptions”) that may otherwise go undetected in an overwhelming sea of information. With the right exception reports, merchants can actually significantly improve several facets of their everyday operations. Here are a few different ways retailers can use exception reports:
1. Improve customer service
Exception reports can be vital to improving customer service by making agents more aware of order status, and therefore delayed orders. When “normal” shipping timeframes are established, customer service can be made aware when the elapsed time between receiving an order from a customer and shipping it out is not “normal”. Customer service can then either set up an automated email to notify the customer or have this information on hand to address any concerns.
2. Identify potential fraud
Fraud is a real concern for many retailers. However, many merchants also have difficulty identifying fraud because it happens in so many different ways – payment fraud, gift card fraud, return fraud and more. Retailers can quickly lose sight of suspicious activity when they are trying to discover it through pages upon pages of data – it is often like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
Exception reports can help merchants identify anomalies by setting specific thresholds in all of those areas. These thresholds can point out an abundance of refunds or voids, large discrepancies of cash and other peculiar activities. Moreover, these reports can be tailored to specific registers, employees or even stores. Identifying instances of fraud is important not only to retailers’ own bottom lines, but also overall service.
3. Improve inventory management
Inventory is the lifeblood of retailers. How effectively they choose to move products is critical to their long-term success. However, if it were that easy, every merchant would be an instant success. The fact of the matter is that there is more to inventory management than picking the right products, and exception reports can help in several areas.
The obvious example would be using exception reports to identify fast- or slow-moving products or SKUs with high or low product inventory levels. However, exception reports can be used for much more than just that – they could be used to identify variations in units sold during specific time frames, identify items that are often ordered together to create kits and several other tasks.
This is really just the tip of the iceberg. Exception reports can be used in several other areas – as key performance indicators for warehouse employees, setting price and margin exceptions and anything else. It is crucial merchants think carefully about how they can use exception reports to ensure their own success in the long haul.