Improving Behind-the-Scenes Communication in Retail

There are lots of reasons people still love and will always love going to stores: The ability to interact with products hands on. The opportunity to have unique and exciting experiences. The social elements of shopping with friends, family or even strangers.

Shopping scene at a pop-up shop

But there is one element that most distinguishes physical retail from online retail and still defines why people shop in stores – human staff. Working with friendly and knowledgeable employees is the easiest way to get the products, services, and overall sales experience you most want. Having stellar staff is one of the biggest assets today’s stores have to offer consumers.

That is good news, but only for the stores with great employees. Delivering the kind of exceptional service that today’s customers expect means that staff at all levels have to communicate frequently and freely. Employees are only knowledgeable when they have access to all knowledge and communicating to everyone is difficult in a large retail environment.

The managers who make a proactive effort to improve behind-the-scene communication see the results in the sales figures. Luckily, it’s not difficult to make those improvements:

Encourage Employees to Share Information

Each member of staff has devised strategies to do their job better and gained valuable insights through their individual experiences. Encouraging employees to share this information in team meetings, in informal settings, or through some kind of online message board benefits everyone involved. In general, managers can improve communications by welcoming ideas and insights from employees on the front lines.

Put a BYOD Policy in Place

You may not want staff using smartphones on the sales floor, but that does not mean

they are not a valuable tool for training, team building, and information sharing. Allowing employees to use their own devices to access apps or other digital tools makes things more accessible, and a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy ensures that security or privacy considerations don’t inhibit the free flow of information.

Adopt Enterprise Messaging

Communication within a store is important, but so is communication between stores or between departments in large retailers. Phone and email are convenient, but no tool is as good for exchanging information as some kind of enterprise messaging app. Sharing ideas, information, documents, images, or even just jokes is easy and instantaneous. Everyone in the enterprise is literally on the same page.

Implement Embedded Analytics

Information sharing between managers and employees is important, but so is information sharing between managers and executives. The information that most often gets lost in translation or caught up in bottlenecks is the kind of detailed financial, performance, and inventory data that decision-makers focus on. Retail dashboards that features embedded analytics allow everyone to work with the same easy and intuitive tools. As a result, everyone is guided by the same information and insights.

Cultivate a Positive Culture

This should go without saying, but co-workers communicate better when they actually like each other. That does not mean they have to be best friends, but they should respect one another, including superiors and subordinates, and feel a part of a shared mission. This all ties into company culture. Retailers that are positive, empathetic, accommodating, and encouraging also tend to be innovative, exciting, and successful.

The best reason to improve behind-the-scenes communication is because it accomplishes so much while costing so little. It’s one of the most economical improvements retailers can make, and it leads directly to the bottom line. Retailers who want to sell more must start by talking more.

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