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

34% of associates 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 associates are worried about the future. We wanted to understand these concerns, so we conducted our biggest ever survey of associates and decision makers. 


We interviewed over 1200 people from stores across the UK, the USA 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 associates and decision makers:

  • 85% of decision makers believe that human associates 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 associates 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. 

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


Most associates 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 associates 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 tech effectively


What do associates really think about smart tech? Download our report to find out.


To make matters worse, it seems that head office is oblivious to these problems. Despite associates’ 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 associates 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 associates

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

  • Headsets allow associates to communicate easily from anywhere in store. This improves efficiency and reduces daily walking distance by up to 1.4km. 32% of associates 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 associates, 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 associates 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 associates’ headsets. This helps them to keep track of in-store tech, 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 associates to answer customer questions with ease. associates can find information or check stock levels without leaving the customer’s side.
  • Call points let customers request help without searching for a associate. 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 associates 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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