Your frontline staff is responsible for your customers‘ experience in your store. Your customer service model is directly managed by store associates. Retail work has a long history of low employee morale, high turnover, and can have a negative impact on employee satisfaction. Retailers have the chance to improve the well-being of their employees and optimize the customer experience.
The brick-and-mortar shop remains an important channel for both retailers and customers, even as omnichannel strategies continue to gain popularity. Seventy eight percent of respondents said that they prefer shopping in-store and spend six times as much online. There are still some shopping goals consumers have that can only be achieved in-store. These include trying on products, immediate ownership and having a social experience.
Your employees should be happy, cheerful, and helpful when shoppers visit your store. Retail workers’ engagement isn’t an automatic outcome. There are many ways that employers can increase employee morale. These are three ways to motivate your hourly employees.
1. Employees can save time by streamlining processes
There are many processes involved in retail work, including scheduling distribution and requesting time off. I have seen hourly workers in large retailers struggle to use modern technology for their jobs. Many teams still use social media, telephone calls, and printed outs to manage their routine tasks.
Imagine completing any of your professional tasks using only printed documents. It’s unlikely, but our research shows that store managers spend anywhere from four to six hours a week scheduling because of outdated processes. These are hours that could have been spent helping customers, training or refreshing inventories.
To increase productivity, empower your employees with the tools that they need to do their job effectively. Retailers should take stock of their processes and identify areas for improvement.
2. Show appreciation and give feedback frequently.
Most likely, your workforce is made up of millennials and Gen Z workers. Recent research shows that these generation value meaningful, frequent feedback. It validates their hardwork and makes them feel more confident in their work. Employees of all generations appreciate encouragement and support when they work hard.
Communication tools for frontline workers are limited. The average hourly worker does not have an email address. Managers are often responsible for communicating company leadership messages, although it can be difficult to make sure that they are getting the message across. Managers rely on text messages, phone calls, social media groups, and other means to communicate with their team. These communication methods are not secure, reliable or organized for a productive team.
Retailers can create a communication channel between managers and senior leaders. Employees should have easy access to a central hub that allows them to communicate with their team, receive updates from their managers and receive announcements from the company. This allows for frequent communication, which fosters trust, transparency, and accountability, which results in happier, more productive employees.
3. Make sure that all shifts are staffed.
Store employees find it difficult to work when they are short of staff. Although they have less help, it doesn’t mean that the queue at the register will be any shorter. Customers may also have special needs that associates are unable to support.
Another scenario is when stores experience unexpectedly high traffic and are unable to handle it. Another scenario is when a shipment arrives early and needs processing. Employees may not be able to deal with the many calls that come in during business hours.
Employee morale and customer service are affected by being short of staff. Retailers can look into ways to facilitate bulk shift posting or employee-to-employee swapping in order to reduce the number of no-shows. This will allow you to replace call-outs and ensure that the store has adequate staffing. This helps employees avoid undue stress, and makes it easier for customers and employees to have a great experience.
Engaging employees is good for business
Your employees should know how much you value them. Give them the tools they need for success. Tell them how much they are appreciated. You need to ensure they are able to work together and that there is enough staff for the job. These are the things that will make your employees happier and more likely to stay. They will also be motivated to tell customers why they hired them.
Thanksgiving Weekend attracted record numbers of shoppers, with 124M people visiting stores
The record 189.6 Million U.S. shoppers shopped between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday. This is a 14 percent increase over the 165.8million who shopped last year, reports Prosper Insights & Analytics. According to the survey, 124 million people shop in stores and 142.2 million go online. 75.7 million of them did both. Black Friday saw 84.2 million shoppers. Small Business Saturday (59.9million), Thanksgiving Day (36.7 million), Sunday (22.9 million) and Cyber Monday (21.8 millions) were the next busiest days for in-store shopping.
Total Retail’s View: Any retailers worried about the shorter holiday season should relax. The record-breaking turnout on Thanksgiving weekend was a positive start to the holiday shopping period, which is expected to see sales rise between 3.8% and 4.2%. Matthew Shay, NRF CEO and President, suggested that shoppers may be more motivated to buy because of the compressed holiday season. He said that customers feel the pressure to complete their shopping on time. Even people who usually wait until the last minute to buy gifts were able to turn out in record numbers this weekend.
Although online shopping is more popular than offline, with 142.2 million people purchasing e-commerce products and a record breaking $9.4 billion spent online on Cyber Monday, the increasingly omnichannel nature modern retail has blurred lines between in-store and online purchases. Phil Rist, Prosper’s Executive Vice President of Strategy, said that it is becoming more difficult to tell the difference between sales made in stores and online with the advent of BORIS and BOPIS services, as well as the ability to compare shop in-store and on mobile devices. Rist believes that online retail sales growth is good news for everyone. This holiday season, retailers that offer seamless cross-channel experiences and personalized offers, flexible payments options, and delivery incentives such as free shipping or BOPIS will be winners.
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