Nearly two thirds of retailers are failing to invest in technology training of staff
Nearly two thirds (62%) of retailers provide only one day or less of training on new technology per employee per annum, according to research conducted by Box Technologies. Only one third (33%) said they provided more than one day, but less than a week of training.
Commenting on the findings, Ian Patterson, head of retail at Box, said: "Given the increasing types of new technology being introduced to the sector, I was very surprised to read this figure.
"The capability of the employees is critical to the value of the in-store experience and the worth of the physical store. Investing in new technology, but not investing in the people to deliver it, is a huge mistake. Technology needs to be empowered - it cannot do customer service on its own."
A further 73% of retailers admitted that they had failed to make any changes to their store layouts as a result of multi-channel developments and improving customer experience.
"Given the changing retail environment, I would have expected to see many more retailers beginning to make changes to their physical stores in order to accommodate growing online sales, the use of digital technologies, and the introduction of click & collect, which we now hear so much about", added Patterson.
When it came to capturing demographic information about customers, only 54% of retailers surveyed claimed to do this. Of these only 31% advised that it was to improve the overall customer experience - whilst 27% advised it was for cross-selling, and 26% for up-selling.
The research also highlighted that the multi-channel model is not being fully embraced by the retail community. 18% of those surveyed admitted to charging different prices online and in-store; 15% claimed to charge more in-store.
Well over one third (39%) of retailers surveyed said they had recently installed WiFi into their stores, but 35% did not intend to use it in the future.
"Whether for reasons of cost, security or 'showrooming', I believe that not installing WiFi is a missed opportunity. A true multi-channel approach means making sure the store plays a vital role", said Patterson.
Further findings from the research included:
- 16% of respondents indicated they do not have an ecommerce website
- The number of retailers using apps is a modest 32%
- The level of kiosk take up is 20%
- Contactless has received the most new investment with 53% of retailers surveyed having recently introduced it into their stores
Patterson added: "We conducted the 'retail technology and the customer journey' research in line with the launch of our new innovation centre in Thame. The centre brings together customer engagement technology across areas including: tablet computing, mobile payment, footfall analysis, digital signage, networked content management and pioneering PoS concepts. We're also excited to be debuting new technologies.
"The high street store needs to be somewhere a customer wants to visit - a happy and engaged customer will spend longer in that store making purchases. As we move into what is certain to be another tough and competitive year for the high street retailer, our aim at Box is to provide leading-edge solutions that will help our clients to remain at the top of their game."
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