How Retailers Can Boost Customer Experience Amid Labor Shortages

Nov 4, 2022 | Blog

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The world has started to recuperate from the pandemic and consumers are back to in-store shopping; retailers are keen to make the most of the footfall by providing exceptional in-store experiences. However, one barrier that the retail sector is still trying to overcome is the labor shortage hangover caused by COVID-19.

While retailers struggle to hire new employees, alternative solutions must be found to mitigate any impact on in-store sales. By deploying the right technologies, retailers can lean on innovation to fill the holes left by a lack of staff. The question is how does it look in action.

Deliver More With Limited Staff

Amidst this labor shortage, retailers that still function with traditional point-of-sale (POS) system risk failing to provide a seamless customer experience. Today’s digital natives prefer avoiding long queues at checkout, and instead desire a high-quality service that ensures a frictionless in-store experience while fulfilling their online preferences, such as online browsing and click-and-collect.

Advanced mobile POS (mPOS) applications are capable of operating exclusively on cutting edge iOS devices while simplifying the entire user experience for sales associates. This further allows in-store associates to serve more shoppers in less time while ensuring a top-tier customer experience. And all this can be achieved from any part of the store, which eliminates the frustration of long queues.

Related story: Brick-and-Mortar Isn’t Dead Yet … And E-Commerce Tells Us Why

Streamlining Back-Store Operations

For in-store associates to be able to deliver top level customer service, they must be provided with next-generation back-store support — such as up-to-date consumer data and inventory information. Retailers must ensure that this information is updated in real time to ensure accuracy and relevancy of the data. Manual data entry is time consuming and ongoing staff shortages can make it more difficult for retailers to keep everything updated manually.

Artificial intelligence-powered mPOS solutions, deployed with smart data capture capabilities and secure customer relationship management (CRM), allow retailers to keep track of their inventory in real time — eliminating the need for manual data entry — while creating a highly personalized customer experience.

This provides in-store employees with consumer information (e.g., purchase history, preferences) and inventory data right at their fingertips. Staff can solve customer queries about an expected arrival of a particular item and suggest an alternative based on consumer preferences. What’s more, these associates can even deliver personalized experiences with customized discounts available in mPOS systems.

Efficient Staff Training

When retailers hire new employees, it takes time to train them on complicated traditional POS systems. Sometimes the onboarding process becomes so long that it takes an entire month for an employee to be able to learn everything and get running on the ground. Retailers cannot afford this longer process amid peak season traffic levels.

Technology can expedite in-store training when new hires are acquired — advanced mPOS applications are incredibly user-friendly. By providing stores with simple and easy-to-use software that operates on iOS, new staff can be trained across a number of areas within the store in a fraction of the typical training time. This is especially significant for peak times when retailers hire for temporary positions to fill staffing gaps.

Jonathan Mauerer is vice president, operations at Teamwork Commerce, a leading omnichannel solution, providing retailers with point of sale, order management, inventory control, CRM, and analytics.

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