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Safe retail – taking care of colleagues

As retailers start to firm up their strategies for reopening safely, our ‘Safe retail’ series takes a practical look at the features and functions which will enable them to open their doors with confidence, to both customers and store associates.

The way retailers are managing their store associates in the countdown to non-essential stores reopening is understandably making headlines - BRC Chief Executive Helen Dickinson commented that it was ‘incumbent’ on them to ensure they can operate safely for colleagues and customers alike. Now that they’re seen as key workers, it is essential that those responsible for store associate work patterns make sure they have all the tools they need to feel confident and be safe in-store.

The necessary practical measures for safety have generally been established by the supermarkets and other stores that have remained open throughout, including staggering shift times, managing the number of and distance between people in-store, the use of hand sanitisation stations and plastic screens at payment points. But, as long as traditional browsing, touching and trying on items are on hiatus, there’s an additional need to look at ways to provide a personalised experience at distance without compromising on either safety or customer service.

Access everything, anywhere

There’s a straightforward way to achieve this, provided you have the right retail platform in place. It’s possible to give store associates access to your full product catalogue, including online options, on in-store devices and large-screen displays. This allows them to show customers your entire range, including any style, size and colour combination as well as customer profiles, wishlists and preferences for a socially distanced yet personalised shopping experience.

Couple this with remote payment via SMS link for safe payment in-store and you have a seamless, contactless service which takes care of colleagues and customers while preserving the personal elements.

Bringing it home

While some store associates will be returning to stores, inevitably there will be others remaining at home until new ways of working have bedded in. Keeping in touch with everyone, whether they’re in-store or at home, is essential to ensuring all colleagues feel part of the same team, that they’re making a contribution and that you’re listening to their concerns.

This depends on being able to confidently provide them with secure device access, including BYOD, so that they can work remotely whenever necessary. They’ll be able to complete their day-to-day tasks, and thanks to fully-integrated messaging and communications including sentiment polls and satisfaction surveys, you will be able to stay engaged with your team and keep track of their health and wellbeing.

The way stores operate in the future will rely on a skilled, engaged workforce that trusts employers to take care of them – equipping them with the right tools now will ensure that this is the case.

If you’d like to find out more about how to take care of your colleagues as well as our other safe retail features, contact us.

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Red Ant, 5th June 2020
How retailers can take care of colleagues during the COVID-19 pandemic

Related resource

Safe retail – virtual clienteling

As stores reopen, retailers are preparing for a different kind of relationship with their customers – repurposing and evolving their tech so that, whether it is delivered by appointment in store or via virtual consultation, the customer experience is no less personal.