Navigating retailer in-store technology needs
Through a special arrangement, what follows is a summary of an article from Retail Paradox, RSR Research’s weekly analysis on emerging issues facing retailers, presented here for discussion.
A trend has been building over the past three years and it seems to have reached critical mass: Retailers are recognizing the real importance of the in-store employee in creating a better in-store experience for consumers.
On the surface this sounds great, but we found somewhat conflicting data in this year’s store benchmark report: "Empowering The Store Employee: Benchmark Report 2015."
Retailers are definitely increasing the importance and base pay of their in-store employees.
But here’s the catch: Retailers, of all sizes, shapes, performance levels and segments are paying short shrift to training their existing employees. The chart below is pretty sobering:
New store associates are most frequently given less than ten hours of training each year and existing store associates (who retailers might be considering their "bench" for managerial talent") aren’t getting any more training. In fact, they’re getting less.
Source: “Empowering The Store Employee: Benchmark Report 2015” – RSR Research
(Walmart has pledged a large sum of money for training, but the amount still pales in comparison to the size of their associate base.)
It’s my opinion that we’re not going to see the number of training hours rising any time soon. Retailers are investing in more bodies in stores. They’re paying somewhat better wages. But there seems to be no time or money left for training.
The implications are clear: Anyone — vendor or IT group — expecting to deliver technology to in-store associates must make sure it takes almost no time to learn and adapt to that technology.
Just as NCR’s Dynakey technology allowed supermarket check-out clerks to use the calculator paradigm to enter sales information, retailer tech providers must find a simple paradigm for everything from product locators, cross-sells and up-sells, product feature/benefits, logging into in-store Wi-Fi, counting cash and closing out tills. If it’s a technology a store associate will use, it had better be simple.
- Navigating Retailer In-Store Technology Needs – RSR Research
- Empowering the Store Employee: Benchmark 2015 – RSR Research
Are today’s tech vendors concentrating enough on making in-store technology easy to learn and use? What’s the likelihood that retailers will expand resources around training to meet the needs of emerging in-store technologies?