Automate and elevateBY Australian Retailers Association
How automation and digitalisation are easing the burden for retail employees.
Retail employees have been the backbone of traditional retail. Over the past decade the rise of e-commerce, debates over extended trading hours, and the need for bricks-and-mortar outlets to deliver increasingly outstanding customer service has placed heavy demands on front line staff.
One solution to ease the pressure of online staff is leveraging technology. Automating routine processes and tasks, digitising admin to reduce paperwork, and employing AI and machine learning to continually improve workflows and procedures can all free up critical human hours so that staff can focus on more higher-value tasks like customer service.
The critical element in any retail solution is to ensure that it supports staff instead of creating a challenging burden. Employees form the executional layer of any digital strategy. They’re the front-line ambassadors for new technology: digitalisation can't be truly executed without employee adoption.
Solutions need to be about ease of deployment and maintenance and ensure that both customers and staff benefit from the new technology.
One example of how technology can make work easier for retail staff is a Queue Management System (QMS). Combined with assisted selling, this can be a powerful way to automate repetitive tasks such as collecting customer details and directing people to the right counters.
Together with partner AOPEN Solutions, MeldCX have developed in-store fit-outs including a combination of wall, floor and desk mounted kiosks, as well as providing mobile tablets to shift much of the work from reception tasks to customers in a self-check-in system. Customers enter their reference number and drivers’ license numbers and so on, instead of queuing to do this at a counter.
This not only cuts waiting time for customers, but also allows them to go at their own pace, with their own language preferences. For front line staff, it frees up time and speeds up the whole process. They can focus on more important and valuable work, such upselling insurance and fuel top-ups. They can also train and educate customers better, improving the overall customer experience.
Another example is a staff sign-in process which is currently being piloted by a leading Australian supermarket chain. This automates a daily process so that staff can focus on other tasks. The sign-in solution can be used for everyone coming to a store: regular staff as well as visitors, contractors, casual and part-time staff. It makes it much easier to onboard staff, track who is in the building, and also train contractors on safety procedures such as fire exits.
The digitalisation journey is two pronged, it is about providing excellent customer service, but it’s also about elevating staff to focus on what matters and removing any mundane tasks that can be automated.
About the Author: Joy is the Strategic Partnerships and Market Development at meldCX. Joy has demonstrated a history of working in the information technology and services industry with a focus on creating marketing frameworks which enable large organisations to grow in thought leadership and create unique experiences. Visit www.meldcx.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Australian Retailers Association
Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.