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5 Signs You’re Using an Outdated Retail Task Management System

Mar 29, 2022

Survey Results: How Businesses Are Addressing Negative Employee Experience

Because if your retail task management software looks like something that could run on Windows 98, you’re probably doing it wrong.

Despite priding themselves on innovation and success, many retailers are hesitant when it comes to implementing new technologies. Most workers can recall a previous job where the work was done on long-obsolete computers and software programs.

Many organizations hesitate to adopt a costly new system for fear of it turning out to be inadequate or being swiftly outpaced by competing software. While this reticence can appear reasonable, it can end up holding associates back from being productive. Ironically , many retailers are unaware of these productivity and efficiency problems because they lack the very systems that would alert them. A modern retail task management system is essential to keep proper workflows in motion.

Efficiency means everything in retail. And without a proper workflow, team efficiency drops at the first sign of stress, be it a crowded store or a late stock shipment. But when frontline teams have the tools to easily complete tasks correctly (and on time), they can devote more time to helping customers have a great in-store experience, thereby driving sales and increasing revenue.

Here are some signs that your company is using an outdated retail task management system:

1. Too Much Time Spent Doing Paperwork

If your store teams rely on printouts and manual checklists for daily to-dos and store audits, they’re probably wasting a lot of valuable time (and paper).

Even the most advanced file-keeping methods will falter with this ancient method. How can anyone find the information they require if they’re not intimately familiar with how the documents connect to one another? How can data be efficiently collected and interpreted if it’s spread out across thousands of small papers? What about when HQ and field teams need to see when tasks are marked complete and provide necessary feedback? Forget about it. Unless your organization wants to waste time, effort, and supplies (faxing, paper, ink), this method is simply not right for any modern business.

2. HQ and Field Teams Don’t Have Real-Time Visibility into Stores

If your task management system doesn’t allow for photos and videos to get shared in real time, visibility into stores gets a little blurry.

Managing at a distance, such as with franchises and satellite stores, is already incredibly difficult. Information is your friend, but only if it’s detailed. When managing tasks the old-fashioned way, photos need to be uploaded and shared via text, email, or an intranet. That forces HQ to follow up with store and field teams over email or the phone to give feedback or receive timely responses. Over time this creates a complicated web of communication that isn’t easy to navigate or archive for future reference.

3. Compliance Checks Are Complicated

Best practices and protocols mean nothing if managers can’t be certain that those policies are being carried out. Without photo and video sharing capabilities in a task management system, it’s nearly impossible to ensure that tasks are being completed per corporate standards. It’s also unrealistic to have field teams conduct store walkthroughs every day and make HQ wait for emailed results, with the attendant delays in providing and receiving feedback.

Take, for example, HQ sending out instructions for promotional signage. Store teams receive the instructions, implement the changes, and send photos of the signage on the floor via email (or through an outdated task management system) to field teams. Field teams then send feedback asking store teams to make changes. By the time field teams are satisfied and pass verification on to HQ, the promotion has already been running for an entire business day if not longer, causing the store to miss out on additional sales.

4. The Task Management System Isn’t Accessible on the Sales Floor

Store associates represent your brand to customers when they’re on the floor. They’re there to help your customers! So, it doesn’t make a good impression if they’re constantly leaving the floor and retreating to a backroom computer. A proper modern task management program will allow for mobile access to data and to other associates on a company system via smartphone or other device.

Face time with your customers is valuable. Any function that interrupts that face time is an opportunity to disappoint that customer and let them walk out the door with a negative association of your shop.

5. Communication Clutter

Finally, your team shouldn’t be wasting time piecing together an array of communications across multiple platforms to see what needs to get done.

A modern store needs a consolidated digital hub of information to keep associates in contact, clearly assign work duties, and ensure that directives from HQ are being carried out. The old-fashioned way is simply too wasteful. Think of all the hours lost sifting through irrelevant emails, posting printouts in staff rooms for employees who don’t have company email addresses, and repeatedly accessing information via intranets. If your company communication relies on non-secure, third-party text or messaging apps like WhatsApp to disseminate information about priorities and track task progress, you not only can’t efficiently track data, but risk embarrassing company data leaks.

If you’re experiencing any of these challenges in your stores, WorkForce Software can help your team get back on track. Visit our Modern Workforce Management for Retailers Center to learn more about our all-in-one communications and task management platform.

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