Technology has impacted a lot of things in our daily lives including the way we shop. From customized eCommerce to digital customer service reps, none of these would be possible with old, outdated methods. For example, working from anywhere is now possible because of Zoom and Slack and all the other tools that keep the workforce connected. Curbside pickup, which became extremely popular during the pandemic, wouldn’t be possible without mobile, contactless technology.
All of these technologies were rapidly developed as a result of the pandemic when they became mission-critical. But none of them are relevant for where 80-85% of sales happen, which is in the store.
There have been a lot of articles recently about the importance of face-to-face selling and how important it is to the customer to have a personalized shopping experience. But where is all the technology for that? You need to address your core business to make sure you’re driving sales, delighting customers, and improving your ROI with a retail freelancer management platform. Our clients who are deploying technology specifically for in-person sales at retail are seeing the benefits from it and are ultimately pulling ahead because of it.
Here are our top 3 lessons learned from the past year working with over 50 brands as they improve the way they schedule freelancers into retail, communicate with this talent, and ultimately increase their ROI.
Improving education and communication with your freelancers
Typically, brands are managing large remote freelance field teams all across the US. And because they’re remote, there can be a disconnect between talent and managers. Today, a lot of managers are sending educational materials and training documents through email or through text. And we all know how easy it is for those messages to get lost in the shuffle. Plus as the manager, you’re sending out these documents and just hoping they make it to the right place and hoping that the talent actually reads these documents.
The answer is a mobile app!
In order to distribute materials in an organized, easy way your team is going to need a dedicated workforce management app for your field team. The AllWork app has a learning library built right in that our clients and their managers will use to upload pdfs, word documents, images, and videos. As soon as they do this, these materials are visible to their in-store team and can be accessed at any time.
Managers and talent can also communicate directly through the app. Giving them one organized place to record all of their messages and a quick way to connect with their team. It also encourages managers to provide feedback or praise to certain members of their team.
By providing your team with a retail freelancer management platform they need to do their jobs and communicate directly with their managers, you’re making them feel connected and more a part of the company. It’s hard with a remote team that is working all across the country. You want them to feel as connected and as heard as possible.
Give them the technology they crave.
According to The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated, 48% of employees wish their workplace technology performed just like their personal technology. That’s what having a mobile app has allowed our clients to do. Their teams feel more engaged and they see higher levels of retention than they did before coming to AllWork.
Also, the field team feels more confident selling to customers and providing them with a strong, customized shopping experience. Now they have instant access to training documents and product information right in a centralized learning library.
Using data and analytics for scheduling
Let’s face it, without data you’re flying a little blind. You’re relying on managers using their instinct to schedule at the best times and in the best locations. Our brands are using sales data to look at the top times in the top stores and start scheduling their top salespeople into those locations. Ultimately, you can use data to boost sales across the board.
If you think about it, retailers use all kinds of traffic data and floor maps to decide how to staff a store. But as a brand, you don’t have access to the information so you’re on your own to decide how and when to schedule your team.
Brands are starting to get this data by tapping into new data platforms that allow them to more precisely schedule across the country. If you could have access to a report that showed you your top stores and the best times of the day for sales and your top-performing sales associates, wouldn’t you want to see that information? Using data like this means that you can improve the ROI on talent spend by slowly tweaking when and who you’re scheduling to take advantage of this data.
Make sure you have the right person at the right time.
You’re ensuring that the customer in the store is having the best shopping experience possible by making sure you have enough people in the stores at the busiest times to meet the demand and make sure that a customer who wants assistance and to learn more about your brand is able to receive that personalized experience and that you have the best sales associates matched with your top store locations.
Combining all of these gives you an edge over other brands who don’t have access to this level of data and are again left having to rely on managers’ best instincts or guesses.
How technology can help you acquire and retain top talent
The question that we’re hearing a lot lately is: Is everyone just going to do curbside pickup or shop online or will customers really be coming back into stores? Do I really need salespeople to promote and sell my brand at retail?
While consumers will continue to buy both online and in-stores, from what we have seen and heard from our current clients, shoppers are going back into stores in full force. Some of our clients are even reporting sales numbers that exceed pre-pandemic retail numbers. In fact, in the US physical store sales are projected to exceed $4.4 trillion in 2021. And most impressive of all, non-eCommerce sales were 86% of total retail sales in the US during Q2 2021. Proof that shoppers crave the in-person shopping experience now more than ever.
So, this workforce isn’t going away. Retail and the people who make those sales for you in retail are still very important so anyone who tells you you don’t need them is wrong.
Competition to hire is fierce.
But we have all seen recently that the war to acquire this talent has gotten even harder. The retail industry currently has 1.1 million job openings so the competition is fierce. Because of the hiring shortage and this new war for talent, a top way to attract and retain them is to give them workplace technology.
Today’s workforce expects their employer to provide them with the tools they need to do their jobs and do them well. And the modern workforce views technology as a big piece of this. On the talent side of things, they’re evaluating your company and whether or not they want to work for your brand not just on pay and benefits alone anymore. Now companies need to go the extra mile and you need to be prepared to provide these tools for your team to do their jobs better.
Invest in your top talent!
We hear a lot from the talent who work for our brands how much they love that their brand is investing in them, making them feel part of the larger company as a whole, and making their work-life more organized by providing all of their schedules and work materials in one place. Having loyal people who stay with your brand for a long time is a big part of why brands are able to drive higher sales at retail.
We can’t forget about the part that technology plays when it comes to giving today’s modern workforce the tools they want and how that could impact them choose one brand over another.
If you’d like more information about how AllWork can help you achieve these next steps please feel free to reach out to us at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.