Transformation is the buzzword on everyone’s lips and the theme for NRF 2018: Retail’s Big Show. The show takes place in New York this week and we have a small team heading to it, to hear what transformations the experts expect to see in the industry this year.
The top priority for many retailers is delivering an in-store experience for their customers which keeps them coming through the doors rather than simply buying online.
Susan Reda, the editor of STORES Magazine, spoke to NRF at the end of December, saying: “2017 was one of the most transformative years in retail we’ve seen in decades, and it’s retailers who are nimble and embracing new technology, who are seeing the most success.
“We’re really moving towards a brighter future because companies are embracing new ways of doing business, re-engineering how they connect with customers, blending physical and digital experiences, deploying new technologies and creating experiences consumers are returning for again and again.”
Our view is that, in order to deliver this exceptional experience to customers, retailers need to empower their employees to do it. Creating brand champions and customer experience superstars is the key to running a successful retail store..
Transformation is just as relevant to employees as it is to consumers. Employees and associates are the people behind the magic, who capture the hearts and minds of the customers. They are responsible for delivering the best experience possible and, therefore, should be given the tools they need to be able to do it.
Nearly every retail store employee will bring a supercomputer to work, in the form of the smartphone they have in their pocket. This is the same device they use to control their personal lives, so why not empower them to control their professional lives through it, with apps built specifically for this purpose? This is what the best workforce management solutions do and they can transform the way stores operate.
And it’s not just employees who can benefit from this technology. For store bosses, the insight they get from a workforce management solution, and the power it gives them to optimize their operations is second to none.
Simon Hedaux, CEO of ReThink Productivity, helps retailers develop their understanding of where they spend their time and how much time they spend is ineffective. He also helps retailers find the best workforce management solutions to use and shows them how to make the best use of them.
He says it’s the detail and visibility a workforce management solution gives which brings the biggest benefit to retailers.
“The biggest impact is visibility,” he says. “Every retailer should know how much they spend on wages each week or each month as typical payroll, salary and hours form the biggest number on any P&L other than property."
“A workforce management tool provides them with that ‘next level view’ of where money is being spent, whether they have the right skill sets in the right areas and how this aligns to customer demand.”
By embracing mobile technology, being connected to employees as well as customers, and using data to make better decisions, retailers can gain a competitive edge while at the same time delivering a first-class experience to their customers.