Digitally Transforming the Frontline to Reimagine the Store Experience
Throughout the past year, retailers were forced to quickly implement change and reimagine the store experience. But the frontline was disconnected, making delivering critical information and successful implementation of new processes and services extremely challenging and labor intensive.
This onslaught of change highlighted the disconnect between the frontline and HQ as retailers struggled with inconsistencies in execution and failed attempts at streamlining critical initiatives. The communication gap created confusion and frustration for employees, not to mention less than desirable customer experiences.
With newly implemented processes such as curbside pickup and enhanced sanitation processes, retailers have seen varying levels of success largely based on two key factors: the headquarter team’s ability to effectively communicate with the frontline and the frontline’s ability to work as a team and access the information they need to do their jobs.
As leading retailers continue to expand their services and focus on delivering competitive differentiating experiences to grow their share of the market, digital transformation at the frontline will determine enterprises’ success in today’s evolving market.
Serve Consumers By Equipping Associates
As customers are actively returning to stores, floor decals rerouting aisle traffic, mask requirements and social distancing reminders are now common fixtures. The biggest sign shoppers look to are the associates themselves. In fact, speed, convenience, helpful employees and friendly service matter most, each hitting over 70% in importance to consumers.
As retailers reimagine the store experience, customers’ expectations and perspective of “good” service continues to evolve. Whether a store associate primarily works at the registers, in a specialized department, in the back stockroom or assists customers at the curb, customer service experience must be consistent.
Empowering store associates with a collaboration platform is key to delivering on customer expectations. Connecting all associates in a store with a unified platform allows for teamwork and enables teams to quickly work to fulfill requests for assistance, coordinate on product requests or find a specialist to answer a customer question.
Empower Employees With Access to Information
Every associate plays an important role in making sure the new shopping experience is not only safe, but of value for customers. Communication is essential to ensure store and company-wide alignment. Well-informed associates are critically important as “46% of all consumers will abandon a brand if the employees are not knowledgeable,” according to PwC.
So, how can you keep associates up to date with the latest information when they lack access to email and must rely on postings on back-office bulletin boards?
Mobile collaboration platforms designed specifically for the frontline enables enterprises to disseminate information directly to the ear of every employee. For example, promotional or loyalty program updates, new initiatives and health compliance reminders can be disseminated to every employee, ensuring communication to the frontline is consistently messaged and delivered.
With every employee connected to the enterprise, enterprises can unlock critical back-office systems through platform integration and enable associates to access the information they need when they need it, so they can answer customers questions and do their jobs well, even on their first day.
Maximize Your Most Valuable Asset
A retailer’s most valuable asset are its frontline associates since they are in direct contact with customers each and every day, acting as the faces of the brand. From the beginning of the pandemic, essential workers have been recognized for their importance in our society. Enterprises must invest in technology and tools that provides agility and keeps associate informed and empowered to do their jobs well.
Amy Bakos is AVP product and solutions marketing at Theatro.