One of the major changes seen recently as more retailers embrace the omnichannel approach is the repositioning of their physical stores as retail 'hubs' that provide more support for online demand without sacrificing the in-store customer experience. The convergence of traditional brick-and-mortar and the 'new normal' online has created fresh emphasis on retail sales engagement - keeping employees connected, engaged and motivated in this ever evolving landscape.
Retailers seeking to adapt are increasingly turning to omnichannel solutions like BYOD - leveraging the power of employees' own devices - to help stay ahead of the curve.
BYOD has undeniably proven to be a viable employee engagement strategy. According to a Frost & Sullivan study, BYOD employees increase productivity by 34%. Businesses are taking advantage of such reports, with the BYOD market predicted to hit $367 billion by 2022, up from just $30 billion in 2014.
Today, the trend continues to rise as more companies and organizations adopt BYOD policies and other omnichannel strategies in the workplace. To understand how BYOD works to improve productivity, let's take a look at the most crucial part of any store associate training strategy - the store associate.
Retail Sales Engagement
A retailer's store associates are the strongest asset they have. Associates can engage with customers authentically, responding to body language and befriending customers in ways online retailers cannot duplicate. Retailers need them like never before in the face of rising eCommerce.
Listening to associates and helping them feel a part of the environment they are working in is an important step in engaging them. Incorporating employee feedback into policies, like adopting an open BYOD policy, can help accomplish this.
Studies show that employees are turned off by outdated technology and prefer to use their own devices at work. BYOD policies increase retention and employee satisfaction as staff prefer to use their own technology - technology that is often more up-to-date than their employer's, and technology they are quite familiar with using.
Empowering Retail Store Associates
Agile ways of working
People, particularly millennials, are used to being connected online. Although employers' knee-jerk reaction is that staff will be less productive if they have their device at work, research does not support this.
The ways retail store associates are empowered with BYOD policies include:
- There are less devices to carry around and interact with.
- Associates are already used to their own operating systems and can efficiently use them.
- Staff can manage email, conduct inventory checks, interact on store social media, and even clock in and out from their personal devices.
- Staff are more likely to answer emails, take training, and conduct other aspects of work.
- Those employees working on commission are usually very hungry for sales. Providing them with a way to stay connected to information, even outside of work hours, helps them better succeed.
Onboarding & Training
Setting staff up for success includes giving them the best training and resources possible. Making use of apps on employee devices helps achieve this. There are online tutorials and videos that can help teach sales techniques to associates, and most vendors have apps or online resources about their products. It is suggested that retailers compile all relevant information and tools for associates in a central place. A central resource empowers associates on the sales floor with all they need right in their pockets, and at their fingertips, which can even aid them mid-sale with a customer.
In our post What Retailers Need To Know About Product Knowledge For Sales Execution, we outlined that there are typically 3 reasons a customer physically comes into a store rather than shopping online. They usually want specific information, they want to interact with the product before purchase, or they are looking for a satisfying or entertaining experience.
Ensuring associates have a mobile tool to access on the sales floor can help them satisfy two of these customer desires. They can make sure any and all customer questions are answered through ready access to their store's knowledge base, vendor information, and through instant communication with colleagues, management, or vendor reps. Associates can also help delight customers with videos or other visual data that showcases products.
Things to Watch Out For With BYOD in Retail
A Cisco study found that 69% of IT decision-makers support BYOD policies, however, this is not blind acceptance. Retailers still need to employ basic IT protections to avoid data breaches into sensitive store or private staff information.
A BYOD policy should identify what security steps are to be taken. Policy and security protocols should be communicated extensively when onboarding and frequently thereafter to staff.
A BYOD policy should also include a plan for those staff who will not be comfortable using their personal devices for work. Is a store device supplied in these situations? Should work use of personal smart devices be made mandatory - and are there legal ramifications of that?
Nurturing Store Advocates
Retail store associates are well-known to have an incredibly high turnover rate. It costs retailers a lot of money to hire and train new staff, so how can retailers offer a satisfying environment for staff through their BYOD policy?
Use your retail BYOD policy to:
- Create a team environment over a competitive one
- Use apps that connect and help bring associates together - even store social media accounts can help accomplish this.
- Provide progressive training that cultivates life-long career skills
- Use bite-sized micro-learning to keep associates progress and feel they are gaining value beyond a paycheck.
- Reward staff beyond commissions
- Incentivize staff and communicate wins to the rest of the team through community platforms or store social media accounts.
- Trust associates
- Show associates you believe in them, which a BYOD policy can help instill in them.
Helping retail stores connect with, train and motivate employees is what we do! Some of the largest brands and retailers in the country rely on our platform to prepare associates and secure more sales.
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