How Google Apps Solves Retail’s Problems

There are numerous ways for contemporary managers to improve business performance. Streamlining workflows, hiring better employees and adopting various management approaches all come to mind. However, today I’d like to take a look at how some very basic technological improvements can bear immediate fruit.

Google Apps for Business is a great way to tap into the collaborative potential of your workforce, reduce IT expenses, and enable your employees to work from anywhere and on any device.

The power of Google Apps truly comes into play for managers in the retail sector. Today’s shoppers walk through retail doors armed with more information than ever before, and it is essential that retail store associates are equipped to answer customer questions and provide valuable insight not readily available on the internet. To make this possible, retail organizations must ensure that employees can quickly access the latest product and competitor information.

Google Apps for Retail can help store associates easily access training materials, enable operations managers to effectively track inventories, and allow managers to track and share recruitment best practices.

Retail Challenges:

  • Modern retailers have locations spread across the globe – spanning multiple time zones and languages. As a result, they often have difficulties engaging each and every store employee, and are left without an effective means of communicating urgent business issues to stores.
  • Store employees often lack mobile access. This can be an enormous crutch when considering that most shoppers will enter their respective stores with devices in hand.
  • Store associates can’t easily access their work schedules, or the schedules of fellow co-workers. Consequently, they are forced to place a phone call to a manager when requesting a shift change.

At this point, you may be asking yourself, “So what is Google Apps, and how will implementation address these concerns?”

At its core, Google Apps essentially encompasses a number of different productivity and collaboration solutions.

Email – The suite includes gmail for business, with 25GB of storage per user and great search functionality.

Drive/Docs – Google Docs was recently rebranded as Google Drive. The name wasn’t the only thing that changed, as users can now easily share files of all types with others. By enabling Google Docs, workers can collaborate in real time on projects, and avoid having to email attachments out across the organization. You can control permissions to allow collaborators to edit, view, or comment.

On a personal side, my wife and I use drive for grocery shopping. But the real power of Drive comes is leveraged by business users. If you have sales reps who are on the road, they can access all of their files, product information, and more from their mobile device. Drive supports over 25 file types, so maybe you need to access an adobe illustrator or Autodesk AutoCad (.DXF), or SVG file, but don’t have the software installed on your machine. You can access it in Drive.

Drive allows you and your colleagues to collaborate in real-time. For instance, I take notes on a document saved in my browser. This way, I avoid writing notes on paper and can keep my desk clean, and I never lose an email address, phone number, or any other critical piece of information.

Google Talk – Google’s instant messaging and voice feature that is just as easy to use as gmail.

Google Groups – Allows easy online discussions to take place which can be organized into folders, favorites, and rich-text editing.

Calendar – Google’s shared calendar solution that makes it really easy to view and share calendars both internally and externally. Google calendar is a great way to quickly schedule meetings and appointments, and it eliminates the need to engage in email back and forths to set up a time to meet.

Google Sites – Sites is a user friendly web development tool that is often used intranet solution that allows individual users and admins to create collaborative pages.

Google Message Security – GMS allows you to secure your inbound and outbound email from spam, viruses, phishing, and other email-borne threats. It also enables set central email policies to manage content and compliance requirements – and those policies are automatically enforced. A lot of companies dealing with sensitive information like the TLS support it provides. Google’s SLA provides 100% virus protection and 99.999% uptime.

While GMS isn’t always the primary reason customers choose Apps, but once they’re on they realize how much spam they previously received.

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