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...
Over the last few months Quorso’s been asking retail leaders how they think retail strategy is changing.
Three general themes keep coming up.
When discussing each of these themes, there has been a dawning realization. All of these are quite dramatically impacting and changing the of the field leader of the organization. Why?
Because the field leader is the glue between the strategy of the organization and the execution on the ground.
So how are these three themes changing the role?
30 years ago, retail was a lot simpler. 99% of transactions went through the four walls of the store. Customers wanted brands to drive consistency of experience
The role of field leaders was to ensure that consistency. Store visits were to look for differentiation and fix it.
Today, however, the customer experience desired is far more varied. Customers want to buy where they want, when they want, how they want. Different fulfilment options have exploded over the last few years.
Retailers also are realising they need different formats in different locations. Dicks Sporting Goods and Starbucks are prime examples of those who have opened up stores that have focused more on the spectrum of convenience and experience.
All this variety means more KPIs, more data, more complexity to manage.
So what’s important for field leaders to help drive more customer experiences.
Added complexity is making an already overwhelming job impossible. Simplifying the information, tools, and activities of Field Leaders is a necessity.
District Leaders have historically been firefighters to the latest piece of information or visit stores based on habitual routines. Understanding the most valuable use of time is essential.
Success of eCommerce, physical, delivery, experience is all being measured in different ways and available in different systems. Harmonizing one source of truth to understand what is successful is essential.
Think about what’s happened in the last 2 years. We’ve had a pandemic, supply chain challenges, labor shortages, inflation.
Volatility is the norm and that doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon.
As a result Agility, the ability to adapt and learn rapidly to success is a needed requirement in modern retail.
Being agile though is not something that just happens. It requires the right people, processes and tools to be successful.
Structures that allow ability to test and learn, to work in rapid agile short cycles, to use data, to understand learnings, to distribute successful innovations up down and across the business.
So what’s important to achieve agility?
Rather than keeping actions in people’s heads, or down on paper, digital capture helps them follow up and learn (like in eCommerce).
Rather than sending static reports and dashboards that give a high-level performance, give granular insights linking action to success
Removing the barriers to success. District Leaders most often just have duties added to, reports added to, more staff to onboard. Now removals and streamlining are necessary.
Retail’s always been about people. It’s always been about service. But people’s expectations from their jobs are changing.
Retail is finding itself at a crossroads where it needs to reimagine itself as an attractive industry. Where people want to grow their careers, rather than being seen as merely a job to pay the rent.
So what’s important to help them drive the future of work
Not just because we are onboarding people more rapidly but also because employees are wanting to see impact in their jobs faster. We live in a world of instant gratification and people want that in their jobs too.
A store visit once every 2 weeks isn’t enough, people want to believe there is mastery in their jobs and rely on their managers to help them achieve more.
The workforce is becoming digitally native. Sending them reports or posting paper on a back office board is the dark ages for them. Even interacting with tools like email feels antiquated.
The Field Leader is core to making your retail strategy a reality. Here at Quorso we’re pulling together a number of resources to help you take stock of what role you are asking them to play and the role you want them to play.
This Workflow audit here, for example, is a tool you can use to map out current tools and responsibilities.
Book a consultation with us now.
Or be sure to follow us on LinkedIn for more resources.