In today’s retail narrative, one thing is clear: the customer should always be first. Retailers are doing all they can to create a customer-centric experience, deliver personalization and invest in any way to attract and keep shoppers. While this is essential to thriving in business, it’s worth asking: are employees getting left behind? Are the store investments you are making now helping to build and maintain your dream team of store associates?
The hourly retail employee represents the U.S.’s 4th largest employment sector. Yet, too often brands don’t invest in this substantial and important workforce – opting to prioritize e-commerce, data transformations and other consumer-focused initiatives. Failure to strike a balance between customer and employee investment affects the morale and efficacy of a retailer’s employees, and the retailer’s ability to assist customers. Therefore, it’s essential that retailers explore providing associates with the technology that helps them succeed.
To nobody’s surprise, the retail sector is traditionally plagued with high store associate turnover. According to Hays Research, retailers stated that they had seen an increase in employee turnover in 2016. The survey also found that of all retail positions, hourly store employees had the highest turnover rate – 65% in 2016. This turnover comes with high costs associated with understaffing, hiring, training and more. As such, it’s extremely lucrative for retailers to keep talent around.
What’s more, a recent Salesfloor study found that 72% of hourly retail associates are more likely to stay with a retailer if they have the right technology and resources, and two-thirds said access to digital tools and technology is a must-have at a future retailer. Clearly, as much as shopper preferences are changing when it comes to the store becoming more digital, so are the needs of today’s store associates. Therefore, stores must invest in relevant technology and easy-to-use tools that can make a big difference in productivity and customer service.
We’re seeing stores invest heavily in in-store digital initiatives. Register-free stores like Amazon Go, for example, are using advanced technology to improve the shopping experience by allowing customers to bypass the long lines of a traditional checkout. This ensures associates are free and specifically dedicated to helping shoppers. While these advanced and headline- grabbing solutions certainly have the potential to help store associates do their jobs better, there are technologies available now that don’t require extensive training or major changes to the store’s operations.
Displaydata’s Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs), can easily serve as a critical store operations tool, helping to free up associates to focus on better serving customers. In addition to freeing associates from laborious manual price changes that no one enjoys, our ESLs accelerate tasks such as merchandising and inventory management. Displaydata ESLs can be “flipped” before or after the store closes to show operational messages such as inventory levels, next delivery dates and merchandising advice to help store associates complete replenishment quickly and further improve productivity and employee engagement. ESLs equipped with QR codes can help store associates assist customers by scanning the label with a hand-held terminal to access more product information that they can share with the customer.
For further employee engagement, Displaydata also offers ‘Flash and Collect’ and ‘Scan to Position’ capabilities:
Flash and Collect – Improves product placement accuracy and reduces the cost and time involved with stock replenishment or return of stock. Flash and Collect gives retail associates the ability to quickly identify the location of a product by following the visual flash indication on the ESL associated with that product. Store associates no longer need to painstakingly read product labels to identify the correct location for a particular product. Instead, they scan the barcode of the product using a hand-held terminal. This makes the ESL associated with the product flash, showing the store associate the exact product location.
Scan to Position – Connects the shelf position with the product and the ESL assigned to it, storing the information in Dynamic Central for accessibility via a hand-held terminal. The shelf position of a product can be added for new and existing products and their associated ESLs. The Scan to Position functionality also allows store associates to complete tasks such as inventory replenishment and online order pickup more efficiently, and helps to improve planogram compliance.
By adopting ESLs for the store, associates will appreciate your investment in their success, be more likely to continue working for your brand, and customers will notice your dedicated workforce.