A Story about being Digital

July 12, 2017
Retail Workforce: A Story about being Digital

Take a picture, it will last longer. Better yet, tell a story that touches an experience of your audience, and that common ground will become a memory for all times. The volatility of the Retail industry is known. It’s tough sledding these days. But, the pressure of converged commerce and omni-channel also presents a unique opportunity. It forces both operators and service partners alike to be more efficient – to think differently about their Workforce, inventory, fulfillment, and both employee and customer relationships.

Here’s a Story, a Story about Jim

Jim – the GM – started this day in a familiar way. He drove to one of the stores that had recently been “gifted” to him by the corporate office. This brought his total zone, or store count to ten. Jim had experienced this before but not in today’s challenging climate. Further, he didn’t know the employees, department heads, their budgets, run rates, sales per hour, and he’d only met the Store Director once at a management function. How was he going to manage another store under these types of pressures?

The modern-day retail game has changed so much. Jim didn’t know if he even wanted to keep doing this job. But, it’s all he’s ever known. In fact, Jim had been with this company for 20 years – worked his way up from a minimum wage teenager to Department Lead, then Department Manager, and ultimately a Store Director. It was a fun job and he enjoyed interacting with customers, loved his fellow-employees, admired the management team, and always assumed he’d work here forever. But, it’s getting harder and harder.

Today, his days are filled with the usual things that Retailers have always had to deal with. But, the market is increasingly complex, competitive risk factors are coming from all directions, and the window to act closes so quickly. Improper decisions are leading to the darkness of stores closures, malls being turned into ghost towns, razor thin margins, and customers shopping in the store – then buying online. Let’s not forget that employees often see their job as a social event or an obstacle to their social lives altogether – maybe it’s the millennial thing, maybe not. It’s all very interesting. Certainly, this is a test of his resolve.

Can’t Manage What Isn’t Measured

Managing these different factors, as he travels from store-to-store, is top of mind today. Jim absolutely needs to be seen, especially in the new store, but fulfillment issues also need to be attended to. He can’t just ignore it while on-the-road. Jim needs visibility to Workforce coverage, inventory, and current sales – preferable in a single, coherent format. Jim needs numbers. If only there was a way to access a Digital framework that was relevant and real-time. If only Jim could have access to each of his store’s Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) at his fingertips to compare/contrast effectiveness and budget-to-date.

Jim’s epiphany is that today is not yesterday – powerful stuff. Today is Digital and today he needs a cloud-based and social platform to run his business. Numbers need to be mobile, contextual and relevant, and accessible from any device within a consumer-grade experience. Jim needs Infor Workforce Xi. With proper KPI’s at his fingertips, Jim can reposition Workforce and inventory so that the right product can be available to the right buyer at the right time. Employees will be more engaged and every store under his leadership can achieve higher customer satisfaction and revenues. It’s about measuring more proactively simple things like traffic and sales per hour, overtime costs, behind budget-to-date stores, and that under staffing matter for the big “Jubilee Sale” scheduled for next Friday. Jim is informed – Jim is Digital.

Achieving a Digital Workforce is the storyline that all Retailers must write – just like Jim.

Thad Bennett, Vice President, Workforce Management, Retail and Service Industries
  • Infor CRM
  • Infor Workforce Management
  • Worldwide
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