Of the goods purchased in 2022, approximately 20% of sales will take place digitally, per data from Insider Intelligence. This figure is up from previous years and expected to further rise in the future. The statistics reveal that ecommerce continues to delight customers with its convenience and speed. After all, what could be better than purchasing a new coffee maker without even having to switch out your slippers for a pair of shoes?
This is the ease that online shopping brings. For retailers, the trend raises the flag on the need for omni channels and omnipresence. Operations must accommodate growing ecommerce habits. Yet systems must be in place to receive shoppers who opt to enter brick-and-mortar locations. Through it all, digital processes, customer transactions, distribution systems, and delivery methods have to flow seamlessly.
Perhaps the most pressing issue, however, revolves around the people involved. How many staff members are needed in an increasingly remote world? Where should they work? When they are in the store, what should they be doing?
The answers to these questions are important and pressing, but not always obvious at first glance. To truly meet customer expectations and engage in the digital world, steps can be taken to ensure retail associates are happy and well-balanced. Here, a brief look at each of these vital aspects. Collectively, they hold the keys to lower turnover rates and higher profits.
When employees are allowed to work at home, requiring them to log in for hours on end may be overbearing. Workers will typically run from at-home conditions that they find oppressive. Asking for too many meetings or requiring an onslaught of check-ins can lead to staff shortages.
On the flip side, a lack of accountability can bring risks too. Employees that have no supervision might not be able to get their questions answered quickly. Projects can go astray if there are no set milestones or delivery dates.
As such, the optimal strategy to remote work often involves a bit of balance and creativity. Allowing workers to give input can help set a positive tone. For instance, team members might provide feedback regarding what tasks can be completed remotely and what jobs are best done on site. Workers might also have ideas of how automated systems can support, rather than hinder, their workload. They may request a hybrid solution, in which they come into the store several times a week and work remotely for the remainder. They might opt to have meetings held during certain hours every day, such as between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m., so that they can accomplish other tasks later in the day.
When remote work takes place, there is still plenty of interaction required between a manager and associates. Supervisors that reach out personally and regularly to remote workers will be in tune to issues that need to be addressed. If a worker is ill or has a complaint, systems with ongoing communication will make it easier to relate the message and find a solution.
As employees intertwine their work and life, there is an increasing need to make sure they have balance. If they don’t, their productivity levels and morale could drop. In addition, healthy lifestyles that focus on nutrition and exercise can alleviate medical conditions and reduce sick days.
In a complex world, workers often thrive on simplicity. Easy-to-understand digital systems that support their work-life balance can help them feel valued and productive. Happy, healthy workers are likely to stay with retailers for the long-term.
As a founding member and CEO of OSF Digital, Gerry has more than 15 years of experience managing start-ups and medium-size IT businesses and driving them to peak performance. With background in Enterprise Applications, IT Services and Consultancy, Gerry's impressive client and business portfolio sets him in the new breed for global entrepreneurship.