Why Investing in Employees is Essential for Retail Survival
Employees are an essential component in any brick-and-mortar store and play an important part in creating a positive customer experience. To stay competitive against online retailers such as Amazon.com, physical stores need to invest in their employees and ensure their satisfaction is at its peak. Given the present job market, this has escalated in importance. Data shows that between July 2022 and November 2022, more than 4 million Americans quit their jobs each month. U.S. employee annual voluntary turnover is projected to increase by nearly 20 percent this year, from 31.9 million employees making a switch pre-pandemic to 37.4 million doing so in 2022, according to Gartner's report.
It's therefore crucial for physical stores to prioritize the needs of their employees and create positive working environments to retain them. Doing so will result in an improved customer experience and greater success for the business.
Invest in Staff for Max ROI
By cutting personnel costs to increase profits, retailers are unknowingly decreasing their revenue. Without adequate staff members to provide customer service and assistance, shoppers can become frustrated and take their business elsewhere. In fact, 86 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. Additionally, fewer employees may lead to longer wait times and less efficient operations, resulting in a lower level of customer satisfaction. In the long run, these cost-saving initiatives can have an adverse effect on a company's top line. Instead, retailers should focus on providing high-quality service and ensuring that customers are satisfied with their shopping experience. Doing so will enable them to reap the rewards of increased sales and higher margins over time.
Training is Key for Sales Floor Success
It's not enough to simply have people on the sales floor; employees need to be trained and developed for retailers to maximize their return on investment. This is especially important for specialty retailers. Take dive shops, for example. These employees must stay current on various certifications and equipment standards that govern the industry. This includes both knowledge of the latest regulations as well as the safety protocols associated with using and selling diving equipment. It's important for dive retailers to invest in their employees by providing them with ongoing training to ensure that they remain knowledgeable and capable of delivering a high standard of customer service.
While businesses are often eager to reduce costs, if they focus solely on minimizing labor costs, they'll inevitably end up with an inferior workforce that fails to deliver tangible results or add value. Thus, by denying the importance of retail employees and failing to invest in training and development, these workers become quite expendable. However, when retailers staff correctly and provide appropriate training, they can transform passing shoppers into real buyers. In this way, investing in personnel can pay off significantly for a business.
Implement a Recognition Program
Recognition or awards programs can be a great way to show appreciation and gratitude for employees' hard work and dedication. Acknowledging their efforts helps lift morale, inspiring them to continue putting in the effort required to achieve organizational goals. With motivated employees, organizations can experience higher productivity levels and better quality of output. When employees feel appreciated and valued, they're more likely to put in extra effort into their work, leading to improved ROI.
Creating the successful store of the future demands an emphasis on both customer and employee experience. To ensure customers have a positive shopping journey, retailers must invest in their employees to give them the necessary skillsets that meet modern consumer needs. This investment will also help attract top talent who can bring fresh ideas and creativity to the table. Lastly, investing in employees will lead to improved job satisfaction and an overall more enjoyable work environment, thus building a strong foundation for long-term success.
Ken Colbert is the founder and general manager of Dive Shop 360, the leading dive shop management system and an all-in-one, cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) platform created exclusively for dive shops
Ken Colbert is the founder and general manager of Dive Shop 360. For the past 10 years he has overseen all aspects of the business from customer experience and support to product development. He brings over 20 years of business operations experience to Dive Shop 360 prior to his current role. Colbert is passionate about helping dive shop retailers streamline their operations with Dive Shop 360's all-in-one, cloud-based POS platform.