In today’s world, we can see that change comes quickly whether we are ready or not, take for example the fashion industry. Inventory is constantly changing in order to meet the current trends and stores are now being sent inventory weekly.
For example Zara, the store generates 2 seasons of trends for their customers per week. This not only shows how quickly trends change in the modern day but also demonstrates the pace of change that is evident in the fashion industry. This change has now caused an increase in expectations on store associates. The consistent flow of inventory can cause operational issues and customers expect there to be new and current trends on the shelves. In order to keep up with the competition, retailers need to make sure they are using the latest technology, online pick up in store (BOPIS) and buy online return in store (BORIS) as well as a higher service offered to customers to make their experience the best possible.
Retail associates are no longer just retail associates. They are expected to have expertise in many fields such technology skills in sales, product and service, supply chain knowledge and making sure that the customer experience is in line with the brand. The job now has more expectations and could be challenging for people who are not working full time in the business.
Traditionally, store associates would be training face to face or with printed material which can often become a huge use of resources and can be less effective in providing the right material.
Information can be easily misinterpreted when training through word of mouth as the information is passed from one person to the next. Some managers could be interpreting the material in the wrong way from their directors or others who are passing the information on could have taken away the wrong meaning from the training content when it was told to them. Having printed material is also not the most efficient way of training. It takes time to generate printed training material and therefore the information could already be irrelevant or it takes too long and causes bad decisions and poor actions to take place.
In the modern day, there is a need for leaders to know exactly what the impact is with training in their industry. The information needs to be clear and concise as well as on time so that the employees get the best training possible. However, often the information is not accessible to the right people, causing a backup of bad customer experiences and operational problems which incur a cost for the company.
It flows both ways
The customer needs to be able to have the best experience possible in order to create brand loyalty. However, a lack of knowledge could drive customers away and make them switch to another brand. The key is to make sure that the customer stays with the brand and luckily the most efficient way, according to a third of shoppers, is to have knowledgeable sales associate helping them on the shop floor. So in order to maintain customer retention, there needs to be access to current information that is correct and concise.
There is a need for systems to be put in place in order for this to be successful so there is no longer a back and forth of information between different parties. Managers need to have a platform where they can easily give the information, that is needed, to the people who need it. This system makes sure that you remain competitive in the industry by giving your employees everything they need to do their job efficiently and to the standards that are required. However, it is important to remember that too much information can be overwhelming.
Less is more
New ventures in your retail business mean that there is more information that the store associates need to learn. However, if there is too much information given to them at one time, it can be overwhelming and cause them to not retain the material at all. So this is where we can solve this problem.
Your employees cannot handle this overflow of information, so the given information needs to be regulated and monitored to make sure it is being delivered in the right way. The information should not be given in big portions. Smaller portions will be more beneficial to the employees and the business as a whole. In the long run, employees will be able to maintain the information and apply it while developing their knowledge base to deal with different situations that could come their way in the future.
In order for this to be effective, the employees need to be in the know at all times through clear lines of communication and current and correct information.Giving the right information can help your employees to excel in what they do and provide your business with a better results than they did before.
Change is always occurring in the retail industry, and even though Zara may be an extreme example, it demonstrates how much pressure is put on the associates. Information needs to be given to them effectively so that they can give the best customer experience and make sure that operations are done to the correct standards.
Are you interested in ensuring your team is always up to date on new products and services and customer service knowledge? Get in touch with one of our Solutions Advisors and they will be happy to answer any questions you may have.