The retail sector is one of the largest employers in India. There has been a dramatic change in this sector with the influx of organized retail, both offline and online. The share of organized retail is expected to increase.
Even though there has been a blip in the economic growth; rising incomes, higher discretionary spends along with increased accessibility and availability of products will increase shopping.
Organized retail has increased its percentage shares (from the overall retail market) largely due to superior customer experience. They have realized that the superior experience will translate into better conversions and loyalty.
Even though there has been a steady increase in internet adoption and more particularly e-commerce, Indians prefer to ‘touch and feel and buy the product from offline brick and mortar stores. Only under 10% of retail business is online, the rest is all offline. Organized retailers have realized that customer experience and the resulting sales are largely influenced by the frontline store staff (the last mile in brand experience). So it finally boils down to the capabilities of the staff.
Nowadays consumers come prepared with a lot of information and at times are more knowledgeable than staff, creating dissonance in the store experience.
While companies do pay attention to enhance the skills of the staff, there is a lot more which needs to be done. The problem is many of them treat the staff as low skill and hence neglect to give the correct amount of skill enhancement to them. Investments in them are still not enough. In many organizations, the staff are on an outsourced basis. It has been argued that attrition among these levels are high and while it right if companies don’t treat staff as important team members, this is bound to happen.
These staff members are left to their own when it comes to communication, and they have to rely on stray and disparate pieces of information like emails, team meetings, and they have to piece it all together.
This has to change like some companies are already doing. They are investing in their staff by training/equipping with knowledge, tools and processes. This has to be around the year activity and not sporadically.
Employees today need to feel connected to the brand they work for. They mean they should able to have good knowledge about the brand, positioning, values etc. Not only does this encourage them to act on behalf of the brand, but it also makes them feel a part of the team
Conventional methods of training have proved insufficient given the geographical spread, cultural, skill and capability differences. Technology has given various options to train staff of different goes, capabilities and knowledge. The new-age training methodology uses solutions that deliver crisp capsules of learning on the mobile device. This curriculum can be customized whereby information on products, service can be disseminated.
These mobile-based solutions can evaluate, identify knowledge gaps, retrain based on capabilities. They can also give an overall picture to the staff and times bring a spirit of competition between them, thereby giving them an extra impetus to learn. In reverse, the staff can give first-hand information on reality at the customer level in terms of product, promotion and other feedback.
A word of caution, many of the online retailers are venturing into offline using technology to disrupt the way business is done conventionally, for example, . These ‘experience-oriented’ stores provide unlimited information like styling, accessorising etc. Why. They don’t even have to pay at the till!
The fact remains that the physical store will continue to play an important part. In a study conducted by Time trade between offline and online; an item available in both of them,
of consumers prefer to shop offline.
of consumers are more likely to buy when helped by knowledgeable store staff.
So the solution to good store experience is very simple – keep your employees equipped and happy.
Set up 2021 for growth. Build learning, flexibility, visibility, and engagement with your field force.
Run a free pilot of the Bsharp app until March 31st. Observe the impact.
Gear up for 2021 with the right ammunition.
Author: S Vejay Anand
Vejay Anand is an independent consultant with expertise in strategy, marketing, sales and operations. He has over two decades of experience across industries including retail and technology. Leading new business initiatives as the President at Coffee Day and founding two startups have given Vejay key insights that benefit the organisations he consults at.
By S Vejay|2022-01-03T10:58:13+00:00January 15th, 2021|Blogs, GUFG|Comments Off on Happy Employees = Happy Experience = Happy Customers