You Need to Love Mobile to Avoid the Retail Apocalypse

Retailers have been slow to adopt mobile technologies. The initial fear was “we don’t want people texting on the sales floor” or some variation of that core concern. Now we see this trend shifting towards the opposite direction, as retailers with physical locations struggle to stay relevant, and realize their main differentiator to E-commerce is their ability to provide exceptional customer service.

A recent article in the UK News source “ The Telegraph” highlights Tesco’s (the largest UK grocery chain) newly deployed scheduling  app (WFM Connect from REPL Group), enabling their employees to have flexible schedules, eliminate arduous admin work, and ensuring “supply always meets demand” when scheduling.

The article points out how the app has improved manager’s ways of working, while making staff feel more valuable, as they are trusted more to schedule themselves, with the flexibility they desire.

As retailers are starting to recognize the value of a happy empowered staff, and the needs to continue these efforts to lower turnover rates, and improve the quality of their customer service, let’s look at other ways mobile can improve retailer’s operations.

A huge challenge for retailers is training, with it being costly, time consuming, and undervalued. Retailers should look for solutions that provide training on mobile, shifting the concept of training from a massive time expenditure, to a more modern approach. With people learning everything from rebuilding an engine, to cooking a lobster tail on YouTube, it’s about ease of access. Retailers should have all their training material accessible on mobile, for employees to reference when and where they need it.

Retailers should also leverage mobile to inspire their employees. This includes turning them into advocates of the brand they represent, recognizing them for excellent work, and providing them with product information, to better serve their self-educated customers.

These ideas of better training, and greater connectedness will drastically improve retailer’s ability to provide customer service, though the true value and ROI is much harder to quantify than other solutions. This might be the reason why retailers have hesitated to invest in these technologies, and are opting for the quick wins and short term returns, instead of focusing on the long-term goals of staying alive, by providing a positive brand experience for the customer, through excellent service.