Today everyone is talking about how e-commerce is killing retail. The news after Christmas was reporting that a record high percentage of all shopping for Christmas gifts was reached in 2017 and still expected to grow. Retailers are focusing on this threat as never before, and are also scared of where the next Amazon storage will be located and how it will influence their business.
This has been going on for quite a while now. Today it’s quite common to see quotes like “Support local shopping”, “Shopping online kills the local shops”, etc. It sounds like beggary, and it doesn’t suit any professional retailer to get on their knees and beg for consumers’ money. I personally do not believe that any retailer can survive begging consumers to come and support them for local reasons.
Focus on the right experiences
What everyone should be focusing on is how they can give consumers a great and unexpected experience when they visit their store. Luckily a lot of retailers are already focusing on this, so it’s more and more common to see elephants in front of pet shops, clowns sampling balloons in front of restaurants, etc. That all helps, so keep doing that.
However, no unexpected experience or advertising can make up for terrible service from the staff in the store. Staff looking at their phones, drinking coffee, socializing with each other- basically doing everything else than focusing on the consumer. Even a lot of the staff focusing on the consumers seems to have left their dentures at home, keeping them from smiling. On top of that, it seems like they have no real interest, don’t ask any open questions or guide the consumers, making them leave with a smile.
So, stop thinking about the dangers of e-commerce, because there is so much available to you to make consumers happy and loyal to your store. Just make sure to meet and even exceed the consumers’ expectations.
Technology is helping you
The good news is that it has never been easier to hire the best-fitted people and to improve their skills. Technology has made it easy to measure, train and motivate your staff. You don’t need recruitment consultants, monthly off-site staff training sessions, weekly motivational meetings, etc. A lot of personal profiling, training and motivation can be done online, and you can adjust everything to each employee. This enables retailers to make data-driven improvements at the heart of their business; the staff. This only gets better and better as artificial intelligence and machine learning gets more and more time to process sales performance data, combined with staff personalities, training, and motivation.
Not only e-commerce is a threat
To conclude, disruption comes not only in the form of competition from e-commerce but also from agile retailers using technology to improve great service and sales.
– Danny Fabricius Fogel, Front-line staff ambassador