Do Your Customers Know More Than Your Employees?
Retailers are the number one users of digital signage. All those video walls, kiosks, endless aisles, sales assist tables and other forms of signage add up to some 40% of the market. And retailers are expected to retain that position in the foreseeable future.
Stores blanketed with digital signs mean customers often are well-informed about sales and product features. The question is, do they know more than your average retail employee? Given typically high associate turnover, the answer could be “yes.”
And the irony is, the same type of digital signs that benefit stores on the sales floor can provide similarly positive results when they’re used in the back of the house, too. Better employee communication, training and engagement – all of which can be improved through digital signage – can lead to measurably reduced turnover and increased sales.
First, let’s consider the role communication, training and engagement play in the retail workplace.
With cramped back rooms, different shifts, tiring work and the understandable focus on the sales floor, communication in a retail environment is a notorious challenge. However, excellent communication makes the difference between successful and unsuccessful organizations. As this article says, “Well-informed management teams and associates are the ones who make the service-profit chain work … Basically, great employees make satisfied customers and satisfied customers make profit.”
Great training also makes a consistent difference to retailers. With turnover approaching or exceeding 60 percent each year in many stores, the time and expense of training new employees is a top operational issue. But it’s also critical for store performance. In a study conducted in conjunction with University of Pennsylvania professor Marshall Fisher, the consulting firm Experticity found that sales by knowledgeable, engaged store associates brought in 69% more money on average than sales by those who weren't.
As this retail blog points out, “Just because an employee has previous experience does not mean they will understand what makes your store different. You have to tell them explicitly what you are trying to do with your customers and how it is different from every other retailer on your block.”
Finally, part of the problem with retaining retail employees is connecting them to a company and its culture when they often work in widely dispersed locations, far from headquarters. Understanding employee engagement and creating workplaces that motivate associates for maximum performance is always tricky, but it’s even harder in companies where the workforce isn’t centrally located.
While a variety of elements factor into engagement, positive relationships, recognition, a sense of purpose, opportunities for growth and concern for employee well-being are high among them. And as with communication and training, efforts to create an engaging culture pay off – literally. “Retailers that treat their employees as more than just an expense on the balance sheet tend to have higher retention rates, higher sales per square foot and lower store return rates,” the Experticity study showed.
So that brings us to the question: How can digital signage help?
Back-of-the-house digital solutions can’t create company culture. But they do provide a great delivery system for a wide variety of communications, training and engagement efforts that can.
A simple display on the wall and/or a kiosk in a break room can:
Taken together, better communication and training and improved engagement help create a great employee experience. And to paraphrase one expert, a great employee experience can lead to a great customer experience, which is, after all, what retailers are after.
That isn’t news. But using digital signage behind the scenes might be. If you haven’t considered it before, think about it now. What do you have to lose? With employees and sales at stake, quite a bit, actually.
Want to learn more about how to use digital signage to create a great customer experience in your stores? Download our white paper, Brick and Mortar Still Matters.