For those retailers who are getting this right, the benefits are truly tangible. At Workday, we have seen examples of retailers making annual savings of over $1 million from the automation of onboarding processes. I have personally spoken to retail organisations who have been able to increase self-service by over 20 percent, which has allowed them to increase the time managers spend on the sales floor. By bringing people data into a single system, one retailer has been able to reduce overtime costs by over 12 percent, simply by getting greater insight across shift patterns, regions and individual sites.
Below are three areas that retailers should be thinking about when they consider the future of their business models:
How can retailers drive digital engagement? Data is important in order to better understand customers, integrate digital services, and drive personalized engagement for the increased revenue and loyalty that comes from creating targeted and personalized experiences across all channels. This also applies to a retailer’s internal customer—the employee. The use of self-service tools and digitalization of processes, such as onboarding, learning, holiday requests, payroll management, and time management can drive workforce engagement and productivity.
How do we obtain data-driven insights? Digital innovators will focus data mining and analysis on product performance, pricing optimization, and customer experience optimization. Data leaders in the retail space are putting more emphasis on customer insights and social analytics. Having a holistic view of who customers are will be a major differentiator for brands. Bridging the gap between personal and social data to a customer profile will be the key to meaningful, personalized experiences that will inspire loyalty and frequency. Retailers should also apply this to people management, using data insights to understand patterns in productivity, employee retention, and talent management, rather than a reliance on pure guesswork.
How do we win the battle for retail talent? The workforce is multi-generational. Retailers need to attract, retain, and leverage talent rapidly, without spending time away from the sales floor managing administrative processes; the workforce is seasonal and has high employee turnover. Consider that candidates of the future will likely require a complex mixture of soft, interpersonal as well as detail-oriented digital skills. Tackling recruitment requires new thinking and business processes designed to attract candidates best able to create consumer moments that truly matter.