Happy Lunar New Year! It's The Year of the Pig, which is associated with good fortune and a transitional year that may contain tricky situations that require hard work (or maybe just the right technology) to avoid pitfalls. With this in mind, here is a review of retailers' challenges over the of the past holiday season to ensue they are prepared for the year ahead.
One challenge was the competition among retailers to attract seasonal talent, which was the most intense it has been in decades. And one overlooked aspect many job hunters are now prioritizing is their workplace experience, which is no longer just tied to working for the hottest brand or the level of pay. Experience today is often tied to more of the intangibles, including modern technology that makes their job easier and enables them to better serve customers.
I recently shared my thoughts with Chain Store Age to on how the right technology can help retailers all season long and the role innovation plays in a retailer's success. Here are a few highlights from the published article, How the right technology can help workers stay in the holiday spirit all season long.
In today’s technology-driven shopping experience, the role of the store associate can make or break the customer experience and overall perception of that store. This is especially true in a retail environment that enables shopping convenience outside a store atmosphere, such as a pop-up shop or offsite order pickup/return center. Because of these new and shifting formats, store associate roles are evolving towards a mix of salesman, brand ambassador and e-commerce fulfillment officer. In fact, according to our latest research, The New Topography of Retail, 74% of consumers rate knowledgeable in-store staff as important to their overall brand experience. Investing in retail software that can reinforce important procedures will ensure associates remain knowledgeable about inventory availability and promotions.
Looking beyond the peak season, not only does technology serve to differentiate retailers in the war for talent, it also offers a strong selling point for associates who want to work the way they live – with accessible technology right at their fingertips. This benefit may be hard to come by, as less than half of retailer respondents say they empower employees with mobile capabilities, according to a recent Oracle Retail Mobility Insights study. Getting the mobile equation right can be unique selling point when attracting talent that will differentiate your brand both on the sales floor and at HQ.
As mobile has become ubiquitous with our daily lives, so soon will voice technology. Voice-enabled artificial intelligence (AI) technologies such as Alexa and Siri guide people through their daily routines away from the office and soon they will expect that same experience at work. Retailers can capitalize employees’ increased reliance on AI-infused devices by implementing this retail science technology where relevant within their stores. This can serve as a positive selling point when comparing multiple retailers’ offers quickly.
No doubt The Year of the Pig will not be without its challenges for retailers, But with the right technology, they can help build their employees into ambassadors that can help deliver on the promise of their brand and foster loyal customers for many years to come.