How to Engage Store Associates In Your Omnichannel Strategies

January 5, 2016

Brick and mortar omnichannel fulfillment solutions, such as ship-from-store and in-store pick-up, look great on paper, but implementation and long-term engagement from your store associates is never as easy as it sounds. Most retailers struggle with this common challenge: How can I better engage my store associates in my omnichannel strategies?

You’ve worked hard to implement a seamless shopping experience on your website, but the experience does not always filter through to the store level after the order is submitted. In fact, a recent RIS News study found that only 21 percent of retail executives had up-to-date technology in place to handle the entire omnichannel process seamlessly.

Unfortunately, the consequence of not closing the loop with your store associates is high. If a consumer wastes a trip driving to a store to pick up a product that was not held for them, or if a store is expected to ship a product and they don’t, you cause damage to your reputation and risk losing customers for good. How do you ensure that there is no disconnect at the store level?

Kibo has found that ultimately, for store associates to take the steps necessary to fulfill omnichannel strategies such as ship-from-store and in-store pickup, they need an in-store application that is easy to use and saves them time. When you are enabling stores for fulfillment, we recommend a retail associate platform that is:

Intuitive and easy to use: Store associates don’t want to mess around with clunky, enterprise legacy systems. They want an interface that is easy to understand – so easy that it doesn’t require an instruction manual. By giving your employees technology that makes it easier to do their jobs, such as pick items and print labels, you are more likely to get those products out the door.

Requires zero training: Retail turnover is high and you can’t spend all your time training and re-training new employees. An effective retail associate platform needs to require zero training to use.

Configurable: Configurable order fulfillment steps allow for operational processes that are unique to your business. By setting up the interface in a way that works best for your stores, including pick waves, drop down menus, in-store returns, return labels and even shipping carriers, you gain a powerful interface that helps everyone be more productive.

Mobile: Store associates are more likely to be able to pick and pack or help a customer save a sale on the shop floor with a platform that can be run on any device, including tablets and smart phones.

A customer’s shopping experience doesn’t end once they submit their order. When considering omnichannel fulfillment platforms, be sure to find one that offers a robust program designed to help your employees fulfill orders. For example, Kibo’s Retail Associate Platform offers:

  • Intuitive design that saves time in training and during shifts
  • Easy handling of returns, which are searchable by name, email address, order number, by part number, UPC or SKU
  • Easy carrier integration that reduces errors and simplifies shipping and returns
  • Configurability that allows you to brand your interface with your store’s specific needs
  • Responsive design that allows the platform to be accessed from any computer, tablet or smartphone
  • Inventory search that enables the store associate to locate inventory that is currently out of stock in-store, and direct the customer to a nearby location that has the product in stock

Omnichannel success can rely heavily on store associates and their commitment to supporting and executing omnichannel programs. Gain a seamless customer experience, save time and improve efficiencies with a retail associate platform that engages your employees and makes them an important piece of the omnichannel journey.

What other tools do you use to engage your store associates in your omnichannel strategies?