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What is the future of retail staff?

the evolution of retail employees

We’ve talked recently in our blogs about the future of local retail and its potential to evolve into a special blend of virtual convenience and physical experience. But what does that mean to your local in-store team. It’s an interesting area that perhaps isn’t getting the attention it deserves.

The last two years have seen many retailers fast-tracking 5-year roadmaps into 6-12 months. The evolution that was already underway is now upon us as brands move ever closer to creating their hallowed omni-channel retail businesses. It’s a hugely positive outcome from the pandemic.

But for your colleagues working in local retailers, venues, dealers or franchisees, it’s meant their areas of responsibility have increased exponentially.

New tasks have now appeared that weren’t there before. From picking and packing orders, shipping from store, appointment booking, video sales, social media management, in-store digital POS, relationships with influencers, digital analytics, content production and store chat, to name just a few. The traditional role of selling and processing the transaction is now complimented by a whole host of new skill requirements.

With so much responsibility sitting on the shoulders of local retail teams, it feels like now is the time for a reappraisal of the value of local retail staff. No longer can it be seen as an under-appreciated role on a minimum wage and zero hour contracts.

Although based locally, these individuals need to be seen and treated as very much part of your core team and as a crucial physical touchpoint with your brand. Great in-store experiences can turn a purchase from being a commoditised transaction into a special interaction with your brand. This needs rewarding adequately. For those sectors where remuneration is based purely on sales targets, this needs to change too, especially when the traditional ‘sale’ may be done online after being triggered by a special in-store experience.

So, what does the new ‘super’ local retail employee now look like, and what skills do you feel are important for creating that special moment? Our thinking would be:

  • Passionate about their role
  • A brand ambassador
  • Exceptional product knowledge
  • A digital native
  • Understands marketing principles
  • Commercially minded
  • A great communicator
  • A can-do attitude

But as a brand you also need to play your part with your local colleagues by:

  • Appreciating the role they play in your omni-channel business
  • Making them feel a partner in your success
  • Giving them the opportunity to be heard
  • Involve them in your long-term planning
  • Providing adequate training
  • Remunerating them fairly

At We Are Acuity we have over twenty years working with local retailers, venues, dealers, or franchisees. We understand what is important in the delicate dynamic between Head Offices and local partners and how to get the best out of each party. If you’d like to discuss how to empower your local network, improve their skills and their marketing, then why not schedule a FREE 30-minute discussion?

#savelocalbusiness #localmarketing #localretail #retailjobs

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