Boston Retail Partners (BRP) has published an interesting report on the dynamics impacting the retail industry. The report, The Future Store Manifesto highlights some of the key technology trends and organizational challenges facing Retailers today, including the unlikely demise of brick & mortar stores.
And, while stores try to navigate the choppy waters of retail transformation, and the impact that has on how they conduct their business, another challenge is emerging; one beyond just the technology. It’s the challenge of hiring and retaining talent, and the challenge of ensuring that talent can function in a tech savvy world. Instead of employee onboarding with little to no training, Retailers are now finding it difficult to avoid significant investments in their people. What was once an “onboarding” exercise, where employees are trained once when they join, now has become a daily learning practice, where new skills must be constantly learned and new information must be applied to support a highly dynamic, interactive and digital customer experiences.
According to the BRP report, in addition to the technology and architectural challenges, “…retailers must address organizational change. Store associates must often learn new processes and take on additional responsibilities, often without receiving extra resources or relief from their everyday responsibilities. They do not have a clear sense of the organization’s vision, their role in the transition, or which elements of change should be their top priority. Retailers need to manage change and embrace a different architectural approach for today’s retail paradigm.”
“The digital world is infiltrating brick and mortar stores, where consumers are equipped with smartphones and a new set of expectations that are higher than ever before. Over the past twenty years, many in the retail industry have predicted the demise of the physical store. But the reality is, the store is still the foundation of retailing. It is where the tactile and sensory experience comes together …..”