What we can learn from retailers on improving the customer and employee experience
In 2015, the retail industry saw sales increase by a mere 1.2% over 2014, despite an eCommerce growth of 14.6%.¹ Today, only 39% of retailers equip their sales staff to look up product information for them online, despite the expectations of half of all customers when entering a store.² There is a clear divide between online and in-person sales processes, despite 71% of in-store shoppers integrating smart phones into their in-store experience.³ We’ve heard the cautionary tales of store closings by many formerly successful retail brands, but what actionable business lessons can we take from recent shifts in retail?
Will the store survive?
While brick-and-mortar retailers do face challenges, it’s also become clear that physical stores are relevant and important to shoppers’ experience. Witness former online pure-plays experimenting with actual retail locations, like Amazon did in late 2015.4 For retail stores to survive and thrive like their digital counterparts in 2016, they will need to provide a personalized and unified commerce experience across the shopper journey. This will include maximizing what makes the physical store experience so unique—the people.
Employees provide physical retailers with an enormously valuable asset that online stores can’t replicate. Their ability to drive exceptional customer experiences, react in real time, and utilize everyday technologies fits perfectly into a modern shopping experience. There is no online equivalent of the informed and engaged employee that makes your customer feel like royalty.
Of course, a good customer experience starts with employees that are highly engaged, informed and well trained. This is another area where retailers are now focusing: making their workforce more digitally connected, and providing the technology and open channels of communication that a new generation of workers expect.
How are retailers making this a reality?
Whether you work in a company with a retail presence, or know someone who does, you’ll want to explore the tips and trends covered in The Modern Retailer’s Survival Guide. It takes a no-nonsense look at the current state of retail, and shows how brick-and-mortar and multichannel retailers are innovating. In the eBook, you will learn how to use digital tools to break down barriers in communication, empower employees to make smart, quick decisions, and energize your workforce to provide outstanding customer service.
Download The Modern Retailer’s Survival Guide for these top 4 survival strategies for 2016:
- How to equip employees with up-to-the-minute information
- How to make employees feel heard, valued, and invested
- How employee engagement tools can create exceptional customer experiences
- How retailers in a variety of industries realized amazing results with integrated communication
The success of online retailers does not mean the end of brick-and-mortar stores. What it does mean is that successful retailers will need to rethink the way they serve empowered, well-informed customers in a competitive, always-connected world.
Get the Guide
 US Department of Commerce, February 17 2016 news release, https://www.census.gov/retail/mrts/www/data/pdf/ec_current.pdf