85% of decision makers consider humans a vital part of retail. So why are so many colleagues worried about automation?

34% of colleagues are worried about being replaced by technology. We can help you to reassure them.

Article by Mita Patel | 28th March 2023

As smart technology becomes more common, many colleagues are worried about the future. We wanted to understand these concerns, so we conducted our biggest ever survey of colleagues and decision makers. 


We interviewed over 1200 people from stores across the UK, North America and Germany. We asked both groups to describe their present challenges and their concerns for the future. We knew that automation would be a major issue, but we weren’t expecting it to be viewed so differently by colleagues and decision makers:

  • 85% of decision makers believe that human colleagues will be important in the future of retail
  • More than half of consumers want at least some human contact in stores
  • Despite this, 34% of colleagues are worried about being replaced by machines


Decision makers and customers clearly value the human side of retail, but this message isn’t getting through to the shop floor. With one in five colleagues already planning to resign, this needs to be addressed urgently.

Luckily, we have a solution. Our system lets  you embrace smart technology in a way that prioritises human interaction. Here’s how it works. 


Smart technology needs a rethink

Concerns about automation are perfectly understandable. Over the last few years, there has been a huge jump in the number of smart devices in stores:

  • 45% of retail colleagues now use smart devices more than twice per shift, 
  • 63% of decision makers are planning to implement more smart technology in the next year. 


Most colleagues would be willing to give this new technology a chance if it made their jobs easier. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case:

  • Less than half of colleagues feel that smart technology helps them to serve customers 
  • Only 34% think that it improves their performance
  • 30% say that they need more training to use smart technology effectively


What do colleagues really think about smart technology? Download our report to find out.


To make matters worse, it seems that head office is oblivious to these problems. Despite colleagues’ concerns, 80% of decision makers believe that smart technology is being used to its full potential, and 79% believe that they are providing sufficient training. 

This has created a situation where many colleagues feel ignored. 30% believe that head office doesn’t understand the challenges they face, and 41% feel that decision makers don’t consider their needs when implementing new technology. 


It’s time to listen to colleagues

Smart technology is driving a wedge between colleagues and decision makers, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Our system acts as a bridge between colleagues and smart devices so that you can upgrade your technology without alienating the shop floor:

  • Headsets allow colleagues to communicate easily from anywhere in store. This improves efficiency and reduces daily walking distance by up to 1.4km. 32% of colleagues believe that this kind of technology is the key to improving customer service. 
  • Headsets can be used to provide hands-on smart device training. Decision makers can demonstrate devices to multiple colleagues, and can answer their questions at the same time. 
  • Our conference feature lets you set up separate channels for each part of the store. If colleagues are struggling with a smart device, they can tune into the relevant conference and get help immediately.  
  • Our API allows smart devices to send notifications straight to colleagues’ headsets. This helps them to keep track of in-store technology, making new devices seem less daunting. 


This is great news for customers too. By improving communication, VoCoVo ensures that shopping in your store remains a human experience:

  • Headsets allow colleagues to answer customer questions with ease. Colleagues can find information or check stock levels without leaving the customer’s side.
  • Call points let customers request help without searching for a colleague. If a customer has a specialised request, they can use a call point to get help without joining the main queue. 
  • Headsets can be linked to your phone system, allowing colleagues to take calls from the shop floor. This reduces missed calls drastically, making it easier for customers to get in touch


“If you can’t answer visitors’ questions, you can just ask someone and get them an answer quickly without running off.”– The Sussex Exchange


We know that you value your team more than anything. By taking a sensitive approach to technology, you can show them how important they are. Download our report to find out more.

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