In partnership with Retail Week, REPL Digital has launched a documentary – online and on mobile – aimed at showcasing the evolving role of store associates in the retail environment.
The digital challenge
Retail is the UK’s largest private sector employer, with a 2016 report by the Career Transition Partnership putting the workforce at 3.3 million people by 2017.
The sector is currently going through a digital transformation like nothing it has ever seen, and retailers are busy seeking out new ways in which to embrace changing consumer spending habits.
While a lot of noise is made at a top-line level about the digital journeys of retail businesses, not a great deal of focus is given to how these changes are impacting the everyday working lives of the store managers across the employee base.
In association with REPL Digital, Retail Week spent the day with a number of store managers to better understand what it’s like to be a store associate at a time when the pressure on employees to break free from admin, to engage with customers on the shop floor, to know more, to offer more and to close sales has never been greater.
Store level technology
Never have consumers been so equipped with information ahead of a visit to a store. This requires store managers – some of whom have more than 30 years’ experience – to shift their mindset towards one that acknowledges the role of mobile and online in the path to purchase.
The use of tablets has long been heralded as the means to empower store associates via technology.
But the rise of social communication tools such as Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp has also fundamentally changed the way in which people interact with one another, in both a personal and professional sense.
Through interviews with retailers for this documentary, it became apparent that the role of social media as a communication and knowledge tool is growing in significance for store associates up and down the retail space.
REPL Chief Executive Mike Callender said: “What this documentary interviews highlight is the fact that it’s not just the employers who are responding to the challenge of the digital revolution. Their local store managers and associates are often leading the charge, adapting consumer social media apps to help them communicate, collaborate and engage at a store level.
“While the first phase of digital and mobility strategies tended to involve issuing tablets to managers, these interviews show that BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is very much the coming strategy at associate level.
“The challenges to be addressed are the growing number of apps and platforms this puts in use across each retailer’s stores, and the associated control and security implications.
“Integration and administration have become fundamental concerns, leading to a new generation of dedicated toolkits such as REPL’s own gloodoo™ platform – offering the enterprise-class messaging, social networking, image-sharing and communication tools which store associates and managers demand, but in a single, secure, retailer-branded and managed platform.
“Above all, this Retail Week report demonstrates that as long as retailers give them the tools they need to do the job, store managers and associates are more than ready to rise to the challenge of the retail revolution.”
To discuss the latest digital and mobile solutions for retail staff engagement, including the gloodoo™ toolkit, contact REPL Digital on +44 (0) 844 752 0036 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.gloodoo.com.