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Engaging Your Retail Staff

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Too often retail staff and associates have no idea how to convey their store’s brand to the customer and why it’s important.

According
to the Gallup State of the American Workplace report, “When organizations successfully engage their customers and their employees, they experience a 240 percent boost in performance-related business outcomes compared to an organization with neither engaged employees nor engaged customers.” This study is one of many reporting that employee engagement is critical to ensuring a positive customer experience.

Giving employees something to engage with is vital to keep them interested. Soliciting their involvement with key marketing communications will help them embrace values you’re seeking to develop. They’ll then feel like a valued part of the process, get in the groove and remain on message.

If employees don’t understand or buy into their company’s philosophy and business strategy, then how can they act as brand ambassadors?

According to an AllenComm study on engaging employees, retailer brands need to go beyond digital signage and store layout. Developing a singular culture and environment is essential and making that resonate with employees and customers is a must.

Also, encouraging and incentivizing your employees to experience the brand and products is a necessary part of the engagement process. The study goes on to suggest that stores teach their staff how to use brands to motivate them during the education process.

In order for employees to learn and catch on quickly to your strategy, retailers need to “keep it short, make it repeatable, and make it relevant.”

Once an employee is armed with the necessary information, they develop confidence and knowledge of your store, brand, products and channels and they can effectively differentiate your store from the competition, and help your customers do the same.

Instead of employees languishing in a sea of non-information or misinformation, stores should provide staff with all the tools and opportunities to perform their jobs and set them up for success and increased engagement.

The study stresses giving employees a voice in the educational process; ensuring employee education is readily available throughout their employment; and building an education process that reflects employees’ learning needs.

It’s not only establishing your retail brand in the mind of your employees that’s important; it’s teaching your staff to have critical-thinking skills that enable them to problem-solve and think through unique situations clearly and come up with solutions.

With social media so prevalent today, it’s easy to directly connect with employees and since a vast number of retail employees tweet, post on Facebook, or share photos and ideas online, it’s important for stores and brands to capitalize on this. An effective approach is to actually sign up employees to a social channel, giving them an interactive preview of the company’s ads and messages and providing them with the social media tools to share. If retailers create unique content, staff can spread the word in their own voice. If you prepare employees sufficiently, you can encourage them to blog and post on several social channels.

This approach is driving success for more and more brands. Well-executed marketing and communications campaigns can act as huge internal motivators that reframe the views employees have of the company, energize them on a new mission and deeply engage them with the business.

While an engaged employee will create a positive and memorable experience, a disengaged employee will quickly ruin the experience and negatively impact your brand.

Creating an engaged workforce is not only a key competitive advantage, but is vital to survival in today’s ever-changing brick-and-mortar environment.

TAGS: retail, retail trends, retailers, management, career,
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