Common Retail Communications Problems and How to Fix Them
SVP, Employee Experience Strategy
Good communication helps stores run smoothly because it keeps employees informed and engaged. When they understand everything from changing company policies and standard operating procedures to the benefits of new products and current promotions, store associates are better able to represent a brand and sell to its customers.
But getting that information to employees can be tricky—especially for deskless workers, who are often the furthest away from upper management and struggle to connect with employers due to a lack of technological investments in the space.
The nature of retail and shiftwork means that not all employees will be gathered together with the same manager simultaneously, so retailers often rely on a chain of communication to ensure everyone stays up-to-date, regardless of when they’re in-store.
Thankfully, there are ways to communicate with store teams to ensure that no information slips through the gaps and that teams feel armed, connected, and engaged on the job.
Here are some common store communications problems retailers face and how to fix them:
Messages Aren’t Getting Read
Plenty of time and resources may get spent on curating information to send down to employees. But all of that is wasted if they’re unable to find it or don’t know that they’re supposed to read it.
Messages can get lost or ignored, whether delivered in an email, shared through a text message, or posted on a staff room bulletin board. That can result in store associates missing out on important memos about new products and promotions, upcoming scheduling changes, or company policy updates, which leads to a poor in-store experience, confusion amongst colleagues, and rules not being followed.
All those missing messages can be easily accounted for by digitizing store communications.
Each employee can check out the latest information using a communication platform like WorkForce Experience, which centralizes communications and makes it easy to see who has seen particular company announcements, documents, and conversations. Employees can sign in via the app at the beginning of their shift and catch up on what they’ve missed since they last worked.
Important Information Isn’t Available on the Shop Floor
Regardless of the method of communication, messages often require store associates to leave the floor to receive them. Computers with access to company portals, employees’ own devices, and staff bulletin boards are generally located in back rooms or managers’ offices, meaning workers have to leave the floor or work longer to read store communications.
Portable devices with access to an in-store communication system make everyone’s lives easier. Whether installed on a communal device (e.g., a tablet or computer), at checkout, or on employees’ own devices (if you choose to implement a bring your own device policy), staff can access pertinent information on the sales floor without missing out on opportunities to interact with customers.
By using portable devices, information about promotions, sales tips, and product details are instantly accessible for employees, so they can transfer their knowledge directly to customers and improve store performance.
Retail Communications and Company Updates Are Sent from the Top Down
Whether printed out and pinned to a board, sent by a mass email from a corporate account, or published to a company intranet, many store communications and company updates can get missed by employees and make it difficult for them to ask questions or clarify information.
Opening the lines of communication and allowing employees to send direct messages to superiors or converse and collaborate digitally allows them to start useful conversations, giving store-level employees a chance to respond with feedback or ask questions.
Store associates also have valuable insights and ideas on how to complete tasks on the floor most effectively, what customers do or don’t react well to (such as sales pitches, displays, and new products), and ways to improve the employee experience.
By surveying store-level employees and sending information back up the chain to head office, retailers can implement changes that create better in-store experiences for both employees and customers, leading to increases in productivity and higher sales.
Corporate Communications and Information Isn’t Centralized
Technology has made it possible for information to travel instantly. But different people are comfortable with different communication tools. Some employees prefer to use email or text messaging, while others prefer checking bulletin boards or custom company portals. However, using so many different platforms means that if an employee isn’t diligently checking all of them, information can get easily missed.
By centralizing retail communications to a single platform, employees can access all the information they need and have a single source of truth, so they don’t have to frantically scramble for important information buried in a lengthy email thread or on a piece of paper circulating in the staff room to do their jobs. Employees can access documents containing best practices, standard operating procedures, and upcoming promotional schedules, either in-store or on the go, keeping everyone up-to-date and on the same page.
Meet WorkForce Experience
Retailers can create powerful employee experiences and stay in touch with staff, no matter where they are in the world or where they work, with WorkForce Experience—the only workforce management solution that seamlessly connects employees and employers through dedicated channels for store communications and collaboration, provides easy access to training and documents, and helps employers capture and assess employee sentiment in the moment.
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