How to create high-performing stores

The expectations of consumers have changed over the last year and retailers are now looking for new technologies that can meet evolving customer needs. Visits to physical stores grew by 28.5 percent in the first three months. Many shoppers want to return to physical stores. Retailers must provide opportunities for them to have an excellent in-store experience to keep them coming back. Elevating the experience in-store is crucial with the increasing competition and widespread adoption of online shopping.

Many retailers are still trying to find the right mix of technology to enable them to connect to their employees and provide critical information to meet changing customer expectations. Theatro benchmark data shows that store managers spend on average 3.5 hours per week communicating updates and other critical information from headquarters to their local teams. Store managers must be freed from the mundane tasks of managing stores and equipped with the tools to improve communications and drive key metrics such as sales and loyalty. Assistants must also be equipped with the information they need to serve customers quickly and efficiently.

Connecting Communications Across the Store & Headquarters

Effective communication between the frontline and the backline is one of the greatest challenges in today’s retail environment. Even if you are not part of the morning meeting due to scheduling, your daily goals and tasks can be posted on a bulletinboard. However, this best effort approach is often ignored by members of your team. Stores have used walkie-talkies or overhead paging systems for communication with associates. However, these channels are often overcrowded and ignored by the entire team due to their lack of relevance. These communication methods are not able to connect the store teams with the enterprise or critical back-office systems. This results in a disjointed company that is unable handle customer demand variability.

Voice-enabled mobility technology allows employees to communicate with each other in a more efficient way, regardless of their location or job role. A store manager can send a message to all employees to inform them about inventory changes or COVID-19 processes.

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Empowering Floor Employees with Real-Time Resources

The employee experience is key to improving the customer experience. Sales associates play a critical role in a brand’s success. In-store sales associates should therefore be focused on customer satisfaction, conversion, and customer loyalty.

In-store shopping is a way for customers to get the help of employees regarding product information, inventory availability, and return policies. Customers expect knowledgeable sales representatives to be available whenever they need them. However, not all sales associates are experts in every area. Budgets are not available to allow “experts” for all categories of work. In-ear Internet of Things devices that can be controlled by voice provide associates with instant access to “experts” to help customers. This allows shoppers to quickly get the information they require from their associates. It also drives trust and loyalty, as they receive the service that they expect.

Ensuring Customer Attention is 100%

Although the customer experience in-store has changed, it is still vital that businesses respond quickly to customer queries. A shopper does not want to wait in line to get assistance. Instead, they want an associate to walk them through the aisle to answer their questions. Eye contact is important to customers, and is impossible when associates are using a handheld or tablet device. Voice-enabled communication allows associates to remain alert and head up to customers who need assistance. They can also maintain eye contact with the customer throughout the interaction and have immediate access to any information or people needed to assist them.

Superior employees are key to improving the in-store experience

Unexpected speed and volume in operational changes resulting from the recent challenges have shown just how important it is for retailers have a direct line to associates in-store. Inconsistency between stores and within the enterprise can lead to inconsistency in customer experience, and poor store performance.

Connected businesses foster better collaboration among associates, managers, and their teams. It increases employee engagement and morale and allows frontline employees the opportunity to do their jobs well. A connected team results in greater efficiency and provides shoppers with the experience and help they need.

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Walmart’s New App is Designed To Empower Store Associates

Walmart launched Me@Walmart to help associates in the U.S. stores. The app is designed to make their lives easier, as well as to empower them to serve customers and plan for their future. The app features include scheduling which allows associates to view their shifts up until two weeks in advance; push-to talk, which allows associates to instantly communicate with each other; and voice-activated personal assistants for work.

Walmart will also offer a new Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro smartphone to more than 740,000 associates by the end this year. They can access Me@Walmart at work and use it as their personal phone if they wish.

Walmart stated that the app will be used by workers to speed up the time it takes for stockers to move items from the backroom to sales floor. Workers will be able highlight boxes and scan them individually using an augmented reality feature.

Total Retail’s View:Walmart launched Me@Walmart to help store associates perform more important tasks. The new features are more than the previous suite of apps Walmart offered that allowed employees to scan products and check inventory prices.

Lukas Kinigadner is the CEO and co-founder Anyline. This text recognition tool allows smartphones to read and scan numbers, codes, and text. It allows retailers to quickly address key data such as price verification, expiration dates and product information from their mobile devices.

Kinigadner stated that Walmart’s Me@Walmart mobile app highlights the need for store associates to be able to complete any task from their smartphones,” Kinigadner wrote in an email to Total Retail. These types of apps also enable sales staff members to respond to customer requests with greater speed and accuracy. Employee morale can be boosted, which can lead to lower turnover and higher retention rates. Retailers can improve the functionality of their retail operations by equipping associates with mobile phones. This will help increase sales and overall profitability.

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