There’s a lot of “moderns” going on today – modern learning, modern customer service, modern work culture, modern customer experience, modern living, modern family. Modern seems to be the new “new”.
Retail is no exception, and there are lots of moderns occurring in that industry. Like no other industry, the transactional relationship between consumers and stores, and most particularly the people on the front line, is truly being revolutionized through the use of, well….modern learning technologies.
Here are a few reasons why technology and the benefits it provides, particularly mobile technologies and new ways of delivering valuable information and content to the front line, will be the saving grace of a retail experience.
When your shoppers are actually more knowledgeable about the products they’re purchasing and better equipped to access additional information quickly using their cell phones, your front line becomes marginalized. Marginalized people feel less – worthless, useless, helpless, hopeless.
Customer experience improvements
Advanced retailers (think Apple) have pioneered the many aspects of the new customer store experience – I’m greeted and someone comes to me to help me get what I need (not sell me something, but rather to provide valuable information and help me make the right decision. That same person can check me out right on the spot easily. Email the receipt, which I won’t ever really need if I return the item – check. Someone brings me my stuff in a nice bag without me every having to stand in line – perfect!
Order on line, pick up at the store. Better yet, order online and return it to a nearby store – no shipping costs and I can get the right size, try something different, buy more stuff. Not bad.
Employment in Retail is no longer a second-class job. That retail job can have little cachet now – it’s cool to be an Apple store employee and I get a shirt to boot.
Jobs can have meaning
It’s now easier, convenient and useful to provide valuable training in Retail, which means there are real career grow opportunities and I can access right where I’m working using mobile devices.
Employee turnover is flat out expensive, frustrating and a drain on the business.
Retailers making the most of modern technology can make the most of a modern world. Still, it makes you wonder what happens next, when “modern” get modernized?
No one is closer to a retailer’s customers than its frontline employees, and yet, retail has one of the highest turnover rates in any industry.
According to a Hay Group report, the turnover rate for hourly store employees is the highest it has been since the Great Recession at an astounding 65%. Some of that’s due to scheduling, low pay, and bad supervisors, but career advancement and training also contribute to this abnormally high turnover rate.