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Simple ways retailers can safeguard their future

By Phoebe Barker

Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay

Digital transformation, consumer habits and a turbulent economy have changed the face of retail so significantly in recent years that the impact has been unprecedented. Every day on the news there are stories about struggling stores, much loved clothing and restaurant chains going into administration, and online shopping experiences stripping high streets of their shops. 

Last year the BBC reported the closing of 2700 stores in just six months as UK High Streets faced their toughest trading climate in five years. With an average of 14 shops closing every day, consumers have reined in their spending, leaving retailers struggling to pay rent, rising minimum wage and business rates.

With technology advancements and changing shopping preferences transforming the buying experience completely, the retail industry has to adapt. But how can they protect and future-proof themselves? 

Put people first

Employees are at the centre of any good business. For retailers, this has never been more important. 

It can be easy to forget that the customer experience extends much further than just the product. A good customer shopping experience and the purchase process is as vital to success as the product itself.

With many staff members in retail employed to work as floor staff, they are the face of the business and contribute significantly to customer satisfaction. They should be trained and treated as such.

This means they need to learn to be strong brand ambassadors, who feel respected, enjoy their jobs and care about the company they represent. They’re the ones who greet, meet and talk to the customers after all. They will handle and sell the products and communicate with the consumers and receive that all important feedback. They’re the ones who solve the problems too! This is why your employees need to be valued as much as (and if not more than) your customers.

Drive change with technology 

It’s no secret that the high street is suffering due to the increasing demand for online shopping. While the majority of retailers have spent the last few years improving the customer experience, from online experiences to shopping apps, internal technology has been almost completely disregarded. This has to change: the customer experience should start with the employee experience.

Mobile app solutions and learning and communication experience platforms cater to existing habits rather than requiring your employees to make new ones. This saves time, and means that your learning or comms strategies are more likely to go the distance. Using technology to educate, train and connect employees can revolutionise employee engagement and support your people when it matters most. 

Exciting experiences

Both putting your people first and driving change with streamlined, effective technology is about changing experiences for the better. 

When you come to work you want to be engaged, interested, and feel like you have a purpose with some kind of reward. For most of us, that’s the dream. But when you get to work you may instead be experiencing the opposite: Outdated technology and clunky systems, a lack of communication or understanding, minimal training, poor learning and development opportunities, and a business which focuses all its efforts on customer experience, without acknowledging the value of their employees. To have a future in the retail industry, all of this and more has to change. 

 

About StoryShare

StoryShare exists so employees can love their work.

StoryShare is a SaaS Communication and Learning Experience Platform optimised for mobile. The platform delivers ‘Netflix style’ communication and learning experiences to improve Employee Engagement and better equip people to do their jobs. The service can reach any employee, anytime, anywhere, on any device.

StoryShare is deployed at leading brands including Unilever, Accenture, Covestro, Renault and Upfield.