Why isn’t in-store tech focused more on full-service?
In a new study, A.T. Kearney argues that the reason retailers struggle finding returns on technology investments is because ninety percent of retail sales still happen at brick and mortar stores and almost none of those investments are about helping store associates do their jobs better.
A survey from executives at more than 100 global retailers found that nearly 60 percent of retailers struggle with executing and measuring the ROI on their technology investments – only slightly better than the findings of its 2013 survey.
“Amid the noise of technology investment and omnichannel integration, store associates are often overlooked as crucial conduits for improved store performance,” A.T. Kearney argued in its 2016 Achieving Excellence in Retail Operations (AERO) study.
The study found that instead of investments in tools and information that enable employees to better engage with customers and meet their needs, most are focused on consumer-facing technology, even though 80 percent of consumers say they experience poor service when directly interacting with in-store technology.
“The retailers that are investing in technology successfully are using it to help store associates,” states A.T. Kearney. “It helps ease the burden of execution also, as associates are incentivized to learn, adopt, and implement new technology solutions to boost productivity, sales, and potentially their own commissions.”
Retailers also need to make use of training, incentives, career progression, and corporate support to properly support in-store staff, the study states. Encouragingly, about three-quarters of retailers planned to invest in more training and labor.
Technology-wise, providing a deeper level of in-store customer interactions, such as offering preferences based on in-store activities, is being held back by shopper trust issues and the willingness to share information. But A.T. Kearney still states that, “Mastering store associates’ personal interactions is often a better investment than some technology bets.”
- New Retail Operations Report Finds Store Associates are Being Left Behind as Retail Migrates to Bricks and Clicks – A.T. Kearney
- 2016 Achieving Excellence in Retail Operations (AERO) study 2016 Achieving Excellence in Retail Operations (AERO) study – A.T. Kearney
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Why are in-store technology investments focused more on offering self-serve solutions for shoppers rather than helping store associates meet shopper needs? Do you see that changing?