At the recent 2023 Retail Leaders Forum in Melbourne, the message was clear: the retail industry needs to be prepared to weather the challenges of inflation, consumer nerves, and supply chain issues. As a sponsor of the event, Enablo spent two days listening to experts and gathering insights on accelerating growth, connection, and creativity during times of uncertainty.
Here are the key takeaways from the event:
Technology is crucial for cost-cutting
The effective use of emerging and current technologies is an excellent way for retailers to keep their costs low. Many leaders want scalable onboarding and staff training technology to reduce employee overheads. “Delegates were excited about the opportunities that VR and AR presented for both employees and customers”, says Lotte Niens, Head of Enablo Professional Services. “The technologies ability to increase engagement while reducing costs was a big talking point.”
Culture and purpose matter
Retail leaders must invest in their culture, employee growth, and upskilling and provide their staff with a sense of purpose to stay competitive. If your employees aren’t happy, they will move on to a competitor. During the event, several discussions centred around creative ways companies retained and attracted frontline workers. Enablo’s Head of Customer Success, Kate Williams highlighted that leaders were doubling down on improving company culture and eliminating silos through innovative technology.
“Employee communication platforms and automation that improved productivity and engagement were of strong interest. Anything that amplifies employee’s sense of belonging and community was open for discussion.”
Employee experience equals customer experience
Retailers were reminded of the importance of investing in the employee experience and its relationship to the customer experience.
“A customer-first mindset can only be achieved with an employee-first mindset”, says Enablo’s Head of Marketing Robert Burden. When your employees enjoy coming to work and have the knowledge to make the right choices, this directly impacts the experience customers have with your brand. It’s essential staff are equipped with the right tools and expertise that help create the impact in this space.”
The Gen Z advantage
Attracting the right employees will be a challenge in 2023, with solid competition from other retailers and hospitality organisations all drawing from the same talent pool.
Digital natives will be drawn to companies that enhance the employee experience through the right mix of technology and opportunity that give them a sense of belonging and a voice in how their organizations can improve.
“Most retailers have over 70% of their frontline workforce under 21,” says Lotte Niens, Head of Professional Services at Enablo. “If retailers focus on attracting and retaining their Gen Z workforce, that will be their X-factor.”
So how can retailers capitalise on these new rising trends?
Retailers who can leverage technology to give themselves a cost-saving advantage, double down on improving their company culture, and attract and retain their top talent; will have a solid foundation that helps them weather the challenges around the corner but also emerge as the retail leaders of tomorrow.
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