RSR Research: Stores Say They Need More Knowledgeable, Tech-Enabled Employees
By Steve Rowen, Managing Partner
Through a special arrangement, presented here
for discussion is a summary of an article from Retail Paradox, Retail
Systems Research’s weekly analysis on emerging issues facing retailers.
just-released annual report on in-store technologies, The Customer-Centric
Store 2010: How Retailers Engage Tech-enabled Customers, we wanted to
know how stores plan to contend with a smart phone-armed customer who has
more power in her hand than does any employee in the store. What we found
was actually quite surprising.
First, retailers clearly recognize the in-store
customer experience is in dire need of refinement — and soon. Seventy
three percent of respondents tell us this is the most important opportunity
they face this year. However, while 73 percent of respondents tell us this
is the most important opportunity they face this year, it is their united
view of the means to that end that is so fascinating: the most widely selected
subsequent opportunities all point to an employee base with more time, more
knowledge, and more of the tools required to make both a reality someday.
Fifty-four percent of retailers say that more personalized attention from
store employees is an absolutely vital component to differentiate the store
experience from an online retail transaction. This flies directly in the face
of the increasingly pervasive notion that customers enter stores already armed
with everything they need to make their decision, whether attained through
online research at home, or via a quick-and-dirty mobile scan either en route
to or once in the store. However, it is heartening to see that retailers have
in the towel" in apathy: only nine percent cite personalized attention
from employees as not important. Instead they recognize a viable chance to build
an associate base that drives significant value — and perhaps even preference
— for the in-store shopping experience.
Further, even when thinking about technology
opportunities, this year’s
retail respondents are considering the practical use of technologies in the
hands of their store associates.
Retailers tell us the biggest upside lives
with technologies that empower in-store employees: 49 percent cite these as
"very important." Forty-two percent highly value the ability to locate and
sell merchandise from anywhere in the company, helping store associates save
the sale even when a product may be out of stock, And 50 percent say that
the opportunity to make their employees more productive — no doubt a function
of both task management technologies and revamped internal review processes
— is of primary importance.
Discussion questions: How should stores plan to contend with the
legions of customers with smart phones? What do you think should be the highest
priority focus of in-store technologies?
- Stores Say They Need an Employee
That Isn’t Quite ‘Yet’ –
Yet – RSR Research
- The Customer-centric Store 2010: How Retailers Engage Tech-enabled Customers – RSR