Are retail HQs and stores suffering a communication breakdown?
Why aren’t sales promotions, product launches and best practices from headquarters being heard and acted upon consistently by stores? According to Melissa Wong, co-founder and CEO of Retail Zipline, a “communication and execution platform” for retailers, the reason is the messaging comes from many siloed departments and they constantly change.
“The stores would say there were too many messages, they didn’t see the memo, they didn’t know it was a priority,” Ms. Wong told TechCrunch in recounting her past frustrations in her last job as senior director of corporate communications for Old Navy.
Ms. Wong’s company joins a crop of other solution providers in the chat and task management software space that are looking to utilize mobile devices to improve communications with store associates on a single platform. Some associate apps also help manage scheduling and provide access to corporate training materials.
Retailers by all indications have been slow to embrace mobile communications with stores apparently due to costs and privacy issues inherent in both company-provided and BYOD (bring-your-own-device) mobile device options.
A 2017 white paper from digital workplace provider WorkJam based on a survey of 250 store, district and regional leaders across the U.S., found both technology and execution issues plaguing internal communications:
- Forty-six percent of managers indicated the primary way their head offices inform hourly staff about new store processes, products and promotions is by communicating these details to managers only;
- Twenty-six percent indicated their companies convey such corporate information through flyers posted in communal store areas;
- Only 11 percent of managers indicated their retail employers offered digital access to frontline associates;
- Only four percent said their stores use a corporate-sanctioned app to facilitate internal communications;
- Fifty-five percent of managers said that the head office rarely or never recognizes employees from their store for doing good work.
- Retail Zipline takes in $9.6 mln Series A – Retail Zipline
- Retail Zipline raises $9.6M from Emergence and Serena Williams – TechCrunch
- Retail Zipline Gets $9.6 Million in Funding — With Help From Serena Williams – Women’s Wear Daily
- Are smartphones too personal for work? – RetailWire
- Factoring People into the P&L Equation: Retail Managers Reveal the Drivers and Dividends of Hourly Employee Engagement – WorkJam
- WorkJam and JDA Announce Partnership to Empower the Workforce – WorkJam
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What advice would you have for improving communications between headquarters and individual stores? Are the solutions more technology or execution related?