The last few years haven’t been kind to the retail industry.
Even before the covid-19 pandemic, the high street had been struggling. The rise of internet shopping and shifting attitudes over the past 10 years made grim reading for bricks and mortar stores.
At the time, 2019 was the worst year for UK retail on record. Little did they know what would be in store for them. In 2020 the Coronvairus pandemic and subsequent rolling lockdowns brought an already ailing industry to its knees.
Despite all the doom and gloom, there is optimism. The ONS reported a slight boost in retail spending from May to June and with the country unlocked from the 19th of July (for now) we can expect to see that trend continue.
The battle now is tempting customers back, but how? There are of course many ways but we’ll focus on our bread and butter. Lost property software.
The value of a positive experience
In the age of Amazon, Asos and same day delivery many will ask why bother with a trip to the shops. You could argue that it’s important to see before you buy, or that you’re more likely to stumble upon a deal.
One factor however, that will always pull in customers is the experience of going shopping.
It provides more than just a simple click on a computer. It can be a day out, equipped with food and drinks as a reward for a hard day on the shop floor.
That’s why it’s vital that each shopping centre does what it can to provide a positive experience for their guests.
So how does lost property software come in?
Lot’s of things can ruin a day out shopping. The important thing is to manage that which is in your power.
An integral part of this is having lost property software that makes life easier for your staff and customers.
People are going to lose things, and you need to be there when they do.
Life without lost property software
Let’s say Joe Bloggs fancies a day out at the Generica shopping centre. He has a great time, makes some thrifty purchases and tops it off with a drink and bite to eat in the food court.
As he leaves he would give the experience a solid 9/10. Lovely stuff.
On his way home home , he realises to his horror that his wallet is missing. Next day he calls up Generica to get it back. Sadly for Mr Bloggs, his nightmare has just begun.
A customer service rep takes down his enquiry and begins the search for his wallet. However, Generica has no centralised system for managing lost property.
This means our rep needs to check either which individual stores, or the lost and found department. The logging and management of these is all too often done on an excel or even a physical ledger.
Now the rep needs to check the description against anything handed in. In such a large centre there could be thousands of items to search through which will take some time.
The key issues
The process here takes up unnecessary amounts of staff time while leaving the customer in limbo for what could be days or even weeks.
Mr Bloggs can’t get a quick answer, and the glow of his positive experience makes way for the frustration of a negative one.
Secondly is the disconnect between an item being handed in and getting logged.
Joe could call up the next day before his wallet has made its way onto whatever system Generica uses. Now Mr Bloggs believes his wallet is missing forever.
Thirdly, a poor staff member needs to take time away from their day to perform a painful and time intensive task.
It distracts from other more important duties and probably does little to help their motivation. Unless of course they love lost property as much we do of course.
Life with lost property software
As you might have imagined, we’re here to offer a far more palatable solution. One that creates a better overall experience for your beloved customers and saves time for your team. Using Notlosts software, you can paint a very difference picture.
Joe Bloggs wallet is handed in at Generica. Staff member Jane Doe finds it and takes a picture of it on her phone. She then uploads that image to the NotLost system, where our image recognition software creates a profile which is stored on our secure database along with any useful information Jane enters.
When Mr Bloggs contacts Generica he is directed to a self service portal. He enters the details of his wallet and our matching tool searches against all relevant items.
The wallet is located and Mr Bloggs simply has to choose from a range of return options. Happy days.
Should Mr Bloggs for whatever reason be unable to use the self service form himself, a member of your staff can conduct the search. Rather this time they simply need to look up the item on our system and can give Mr Bloggs and answer in minutes, not days
So what are the advantages over traditional lost and found processes?
When using tailormade lost property software the entire process becomes slick and seamless. We can break it down into three main advantages.
An overwhelmingly better experience for Joe
Tailor made lost property software ensures a smooth journey for your customer from start to finish. Most importantly it reduces the wait time for enquirers.
Ontop of this, features such as automatic emails and the self service portals help keep the customer in the loop.
Even if the item is not located, Joe cannot fault the process you have in place.
Staff save time
Your team, aside from logging items and searching for the odd umbrella are now removed from the process.
They’re role is to support when needed which this frees up time for the important part of their job.
Now your staff can spend their time ensuring your shopping centre provides the best experience it can.
Businesses are rarely equipped to keep hold of missing items indefinitely which means lost property can have a negative environmental impact. This means that possessions that don’t find their way home, need to be disposed of.
Having a system that increases the return rate reduces the need for trips to the dump. NotLost will even facilitate the removal of expired items and distribute them to our charity partners.
How success is measured
When you’re trying to establish whether or not your lost property process is working, the main metric is how many missing items find their way home.
With Notlost, you’ll find the process becomes seamless and will vastly increase the chances of returning misplaced possessions.
But don’t take our word for it. Westfield transformed their process with our software and never looked back.