AI in Retail: Beyond The Hype and Into Reality for Store Operations.
The Top 10 AI use cases that Retail Operators at every level told us would transform their daily work. AI for Retail Operations is...
The idea of change is one that fills many organizations with dread. Change, we have been led to believe, is always hard. Despite plenty of literature and hours of business courses, dedicated to countless frameworks for driving “effective” change, we are all aware that 70% of change initiatives fail.
Despite change seeming so hard in business, societies and consumer habits are changing rapidly and naturally. We believe there are two core enablers behind this:
These two enablers are rarely touched on in the change management literature, so it’s worth visiting how they bring about change and what retailers can learn from this to drive lasting change in their own organizations.
Everyone is well-familiar with discovering or having to adopt new tools and technology to help and improve the functioning of their daily lives. New platforms or gadgets create huge change in our lives, but the process of adoption is barely noticeable to us.
Change in an organization often involves the adoption of a new tool and, with it, a new process. Typically in business, adoption is achieved by compliance techniques: role-modeling, forced incentives, pushed-out tasks, and completion reporting.
This compliance viewpoint is in sharp contrast to the approach taken by the majority of technologies we habitually use. They instead focus on engagement. They create simple, convenient, and frictionless user journeys that delight the people who experience them every day.
By relying on compliance, businesses today are not creating the experiences that employees want. As Figure 1 shows, the average proportion of weekly active users for B2B tech is a measly 17%. Over 50% of users will stop using business technologies in the first three months.
From our recent deployments, we know that a good measure of continued value is to get 80% of users onboarded and active within one week and maintain ongoing engagement of 90%+.
Instead of seeing change management as the way to enforce the adoption of a new technology needed to deliver a new goal, businesses must start thinking about embedded technologies as the way to drive change and meet new goals. With this reframed perspective tools that are exciting and gamified and that employees love become far more valuable than tools that rely solely on forced adherence.
The majority of change initiatives focus on pushing a single method uniformly from the center across a whole organization. Networks instead, by their nature, are focused on interconnecting the entire organization in a way that organically accelerates and reinforces change.
When thinking about change, it is critical to consider how people will be able to self-discover, self-improve, and share with peers to avoid anyone feeling like they are simply robotically completing tasks.
We would be fools not to agree that some of the core elements people talk about in change management are helpful.
Every single retailer we speak to has an impressive story about transformation in the last two years, like “We achieved a project in 6 weeks that we hadn’t expected to be rolled out for the next 2-3 years!” It’d be impossible to recreate the pressures a pandemic induces, but it’s a due reminder of the importance of urgency and focus.
It is also essential to have good governance (including senior support), professional processes, clear communication around why the change is needed, calls to action, great rewards, and incentives to reinforce behaviours. Our Customer Team has created a series of excellent digital guides on this to help our customers embrace change effectively. You can find them all at www.quorso. com/academy.
The key takeaway is that successful, persistent change is rarely achieved by forced compliance. Instead, change needs to frictionlessly fit into our daily lives and provide clear value. Tools and technology that understand this and appreciate what motivates human behavior have limitless potential for delivering meaningful change.
|Role||Physical location for shopping and being inspired||Physical location for 360° customer experience and fulfillment||Physical location for buying/servicing goods||Physical location for multifulfillment|
|Key areas of importance for sales||- New visitors|
- Repeat visitors
|- New visitors|
- Repeat visitors
- Stock & order accuracy
|Key ares of importance for labor||Productivity = sales per FTE||Productivity = total revenue/labor hours||Productivity = sales/labor hours||Productivity = orders/labor hour|
Historically, retailers would choose a certain type of store and perhaps flex attributes such as size and product mix for differing areas, but the overall purpose of most stores in the portfolio remained the same based on a consistent brand strategy.
In conversations with retailers, one of the things we are finding is that many are now considering a portfolio approach. They are realizing certain stores are better as showrooms, others are best suited to being warehouses, etc. This is allowing retailers to think more broadly about the different physical needs of each store and set up their whole network more appropriately.
It is also allowing them to experiment more. Dicks Sporting Goods and Starbucks have shown their ability to open showrooms with House of Sport and Reserve Roasteries. Retailers like Apple and Ulta have partnered with Target to create hub-style shop-in-shops.
A decade ago, as newspapers were talking about the retail apocalypse, the store was seen as a core issue for retailers to resolve. Unfashionable and unloved, a shrinking need was predicted as the world became eCommerce-centric.
But far from replacing the stores, changes in the landscape have instead added greater dimensions to it, enriching physical retail locations to further serve and fulfill customers. For anyone in or interested in the industry, this makes store strategy and operations an even more interesting challenge to navigate.