Retail is experiencing unprecedented change, and many associates are struggling to cope. We’re sure that you’re keen to help but, as a decision maker, it can be difficult to get an accurate picture of life on the shop floor. That’s why we decided to carry out our own survey of over 1200 associates and decision makers from the UK, North America and Germany.
The results are fascinating and worrying in equal measure. They show that, despite their best intentions, many decision makers are failing to address the biggest challenges faced by associates. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at those challenges, and offer some suggestions for getting everyone back on the same page.
Associate shortages are a major issue
We found that associates are facing a range of problems, but many of them are caused by a single factor. The pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis have created widespread associate shortages, and this is making life extremely difficult for those left on the shop floor:
- 38% consider a lack of associates to be their biggest challenge
- 75% are having to juggle multiple roles and responsibilities as a result of associates shortages
With fewer associates on the floor, many decision makers have turned to smart technology to ease the pressure. In the last couple of years, the number of smart devices in UK stores has risen drastically. This has had a profound effect on the day to day experience of associates:
- Over half of associates now use smart technology every day
- 39% use smart devices at least twice a day
Our survey suggests that this is only the beginning. For many North American decision makers, rolling out the next wave of smart technology is high on the agenda. 71% are planning to implement more smart technology in the next 12 months, and 22% describe these changes as imminent.
Smart technology isn’t pulling its weight
There’s nothing wrong with embracing new technology as long as it actually helps associates. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case.
- 38% of UK associates feel that smart technology isn’t helping them to meet the challenges of the shop floor
- 31% feel that they haven’t received enough training to use smart devices effectively
To make matters worse, associates feel that these difficulties are being ignored by decision makers:
- 26% feel that head office doesn’t understand the challenges they face
- 39% don’t believe that their needs are considered when implementing smart technology
- 40% are worried about losing their jobs to technology
This is a bad situation for everyone. By ignoring your team’s feedback, you run the risk of wasting money on technology that has little practical use. Even if you choose the right devices, associates will be reluctant to use them if they feel the technology is being forced upon them.
This doesn’t mean that you should give up on smart technology. It just means that you have to be mindful of your team’s needs. Associates need to know that smart devices are there to assist them, not to replace them. This is where VoCoVo can help:
- Headsets ease the pressure when numbers are tight by enabling multitasking. The hands-free design lets associates find information and answer customer questions without stopping their work.
- Headsets can be used to provide effective smart device training. Newer associates can shadow more experienced team members while they use smart devices, and can ask questions if anything is unclear.
- Our notification API lets you link headsets to other smart devices. This allows smart technology to send messages directly to associates, letting them keep track of all devices in one place.
Whatever technology comes along, associates will always be your most valuable asset. With a little help from VoCoVo, you can show them how important they really are. Download our report to find out more.