Empower Your Retail Employees With Technology

In today’s changing retail environment, employees are not often given the opportunity to be the assets they truly can be. With the landscape becoming ever more competitive, owners are looking to reduce costs, and many are cutting staff in an effort to save. In terms of labor itself, the reality isn’t pretty. Turnover is at an all-time high—almost as high as it was during the Great Recession.

There are many reasons for this, ranging from reduced store traffic to low wages to the inability of management to adapt to changing needs. Whatever the reasons may be, taking staff off the floor is not the answer. Empowering them with technology is.

Leveraging retail technology from end to end

The innovative focus on retail technology has heralded unprecedented investment in IT-enabled products and services, but customer service, as delivered by a real human being, is still a bigger influencer on buying behavior than the sum of all new retail tech combined.

However, there are some notable disruptions that are most certainly here to stay, such as mobile POS, omnichannel, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and the Internet of Things (IoT). These solutions imbue your staff with even greater power if they can be leveraged well.

Take the smartphone, for example. This ubiquitous, handheld computer can be ground zero for some remarkable efficiencies, including:

Training and skills upgrading

Training can be conducted in-store on an AR or VR platform, which can be accessed through a smartphone app or virtual reality headset. New employees can complete an interactive store orientation, learn store layouts, and walk through various scenarios – all to brand standards and without the risk of dealing with the public directly. This also frees up management time, which can be put to better use on higher-value tasks.

Training modules can be personalized to the employee and configured to prompt them to access new lessons as they become available. Studies show that this type of learning has a greater impact on job satisfaction in addition to maximizing the value of time spent in training. Employees come away from the experience more motivated, with better brand knowledge and increased confidence.

Mobile POS and customer service solutions

Arming sales associates with a mobile payment solution streamlines the sales process and provides great convenience for your customers, who will appreciate not having to wait in line to pay. It also empowers your sales associates with the ability to serve customers in a more meaningful way. They can research products and information for the customer, access their buying history, give them access to loyalty offers, access real-time inventory, have their purchases shipped to their door, and more.

According to a BRP special report on mobile, 84 percent of retailers will be using mobile POS by 2020. The same report finds that 89 percent will be offering mobile solutions to their sales associates within the next three years.

While these are just a couple of ways technology can be leveraged to empower employees, it shows how significant new retail IT can be. Success lies in maximizing the assets you have. If you would like to learn more about how technology can empower your retail workforce, drop us a line today.

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Jim Donaldson

Jim is the Sr. Director of Corporate Communications at Mojix, Inc., a leading provider of ITEM LEVEL intelligence solutions to the retail and industrial markets. Jim has more than 30 years experience working for both start-up and public technology companies.

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