For those old enough to remember the days before ecommerce, traditional bricks and mortar retail was a large, powerful and secure industry with an employee’s retail career often comfortably spanning 25 years or more. Nowadays high street retail are experiencing a high churn rate due to a lack of knowledge about product specifications and features. Julian Fisher, CEO at jisp and key sponsor of The Inspired Awards discusses why.
Technology, fuelled by social media, has placed an invisible barrier around shoppers. Armed with mobile devices, modern consumers are increasingly unaccustomed to engaging with people face-to-face. Reduced approachability has in turn contributed to fewer sales, with retailers no longer able to discuss a shopper’s needs, with the pay desk as the only point of contact.
A lot of hurdles to overcome certainly, but all are surmountable with the help and support of retail staff. To help merchants retain their retail staff long-term, here are some tips:
Staff want to feel involved, to be informed and acknowledged. It is one of the most fundamental urges we all have, the need to know what’s going on and to be heard. Retailers need to engage staff during regular open meetings, where opportunities to discuss targets and share ideas can be provided. Employees should also be encouraged to become product ambassadors by encouraging them explain some of their best features and benefits. Where necessary, managers and supervisors should seek one-on-one meetings with staff, where conversations can be held privately and in confidence.
We all want to be rewarded but this doesn’t necessarily have to be financial. Retailers should be ready to praise staff for their work and be willing to acknowledge the power of even the smallest of gestures that can really make a difference, such as smiling, greeting and thanking customers.
Part and parcel of the job is having to work unsociable hours or even days, which often include weekends. Although flexible working is often standard, retailers should take a close look at when stores are busy. This will enable staff to better plan their work shifts to maintain a healthy work life balance and lead to a more focused, reliable and motivated workforce.
There is technology today which will bring your customers together, suh as the soon to be released jisPAY, which aims to engage shoppers and increase sales. Marketing data on how Generation Z and millennials shop, advises that modern consumers will actively seek out staff who are kitted out with a tablet, connected to the internet and therefore able to answer any question whatsoever about a product. In short, give your staff the tools and the sales will follow.
Set targets staff can meet - but with some effort, then work to gradually increase them and share the resulting success with fellow colleagues. Even the smallest improvements will give staff a boost in confidence. In the event of missed targets, develop a strategy to help turn things around, but be sure to support and praise staff to show them that this is a team effort.