Retail: An Ever Evolving Industry
Consumers are comforted by the thought of the products on their wish lists being a click away. Even self-service checkouts at supermarkets are inarguably time saving when they work properly. This week, we’re wondering if, with all the convenience that has come to shape the modern retail market, have customers lost sight of older values that once made the shopping experience so gratifying?
Good old window shopping
There’s something remarkably therapeutic about window shopping; the art of ogling products that are often priced beyond consumers’ means. Window shopping is a small pleasure we’re all guilty of, and is something that has translated rather nicely to digital media.
In fact, sites like Amazon are laid out in such a way that encourages the browsing of similar products to the ones individual customers are buying. While this is mostly an effort to keep them on the site and spending more of their hard-earned cash, it’s a tempting prospect just being able to see what kinds of products they’ll be guided towards next.
Many outlets that employ self-service facilities (namely supermarket outlets such as M&S) seem to be increasingly finding ways to minimise interaction between customer and employee. The positives of this are obvious; it frees up time for employees to focus on other tasks, such as stock checking or tending to customer enquiries or issues. Benefits can also be seen in the use of contactless payments. The more customers that opt for a contactless method, the less time they spend queuing.
It’s easy to see why more and more outlets are employing contactless as a primary payment method; the shorter queue times encourage more footfall in stores. Now that customers don’t have to worry (for the most part) about queuing for a lengthy period of time, more time can feasibly be spent browsing wares. This is where old and new retail values synergise well.
Now that the environment on the high street has shifted, leading to more footfall and less of a guarantee of returning customers, many retailers instead rely on making the store itself as convenient as possible.
However, many retailers do still rely on interactive, hands-on staff members to close sales. Many long-established stores are praised for their knowledgeable floor staff. This is because these stores often fill a particular niche, where many customers may be shopping for gifts and unaware of the industry in which they’re based. This also provides an environment where staff members can offer recommendations and encourage return trips.
What retail modernisation means for HR
As retail outlets typically introduce more modern and convenient technologies, we think it’s only natural that HR policies and practices should follow suit. Companies should be making their modern implementations with the same convenience in mind for their staff as they do their customers.
As consumer experiences increasingly shift towards digital, employers should correspond by making the appropriate changes to how they manage their staff. Traditionally, rotas, payslips and other important items are kept as physical copies. Often, the original copy will be stored on a computer operated by management. This tends to mean that any information on this system must be requested first.
Modernising HR means making this information more readily available, at the touch of a screen if one so chooses. Selima’s HR software solutions include full management of staff rotas, complete with functionality for recording annual leave and absences. Staff members can each individually access their records, and make use of the clock-in system if the business decides to use this. A modern retail environment should also be modernising the organisation of its staff, leaving less paperwork clutter and ensuring every member of staff is on the same page!