Improve the customer experience by empowering first-line workers
By NACS Online // January 31, 2019
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The rapid growth of digital retailing, which allows consumers to get most anything where and how they want it, presents both challenges and opportunities, according to a report in Forbes.
Despite the 1.1 billion SKUs available on the top online destinations, physical retail will, by 2020, still be 87.4% of the overall retail industry in the U.S. (online and physical)—but the in-store experience must transform.
The first-line workforce—sales associates and store managers—and digital tools hold the key to improving customer experience in a world where consumer expectations and demands keep rising.
First-line workers are brand ambassadors, often the first to engage customers and first to see products and services in action. Empowering them with technology can lead to higher-value transactions and increased brand loyalty. Tools that define the employee and the customer experience must evolve to be as responsive to the consumer as the online experience.
Inc.Digital and Forbes Insights’ recent research reveals that successful retail companies think about transformation differently from their less successful peers. These retailers account for 40% of the retail sector but are generating more than 60% of the economic benefits. What sets them apart is that they are 3.5 times more likely than their peers to invest in new skills and tools for first-line workers, enabling them to create superior customer interactions.
Consumer satisfaction with online experiences is generally much higher than consumer satisfaction in a physical retail store, which is something retail brands must address, and today’s consumers want all the power of a digital experience when shopping in-store. By providing first-line workers with technology empowerment, consumers will see them more as educated advisors than simply as sales assistants, which leads to better sales outcomes.
Customers are quick to reward first-line workers’ empowerment. Research shows that while only 23% of all retail corporations enable such empowerment, they garnered 35% of the ROI for digital transformation-driven benefits in terms of customer acquisition costs, retention costs and brand equity.