Nearly two thirds (62 per cent) of retailers provide only one day or less of training on new technology per employee per annum, according to research (1) conducted by Box Technologies. Only one third (33 per cent) provide more than one day, but less than a week, of training.
Commenting on this finding, 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 per cent (almost three quarters) of retailers admitted that they have 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 comes to capturing demographic information about their customers, only just over half (54 percent) claim to do this. Only 31 per cent of those who do this advised that it would be to improve the overall customer experience - whilst 27 per cent advised it was for cross-selling, and 26 per cent for up-selling.
The research also highlighted that the multi-channel model is not being fully embraced by all the retail community. 18 per cent of those surveyed admitted to charging different prices online and in-store; 15 per cent claimed to charge more in-store.
Well over one third (39 per cent) of retailers have recently installed WiFi into their stores, but 35 per cent do 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", added Patterson.
Further findings from the research included:
- 16 per cent of respondents indicated they do not have an ecommerce website
- The number of retailers using apps is a modest 32 per cent
- The level of kiosk take up is 20 per cent
- Contactless has received the most new investment with 53 per cent of retailers surveyed having recently introduced it into their stores
Ian Patterson commented: "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."
For a copy of the accompanying research white paper, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
1 November 2013, Box conducted a piece of research, in conjunction with Clarity Surveys. The survey addressed how retailers are using IT systems and solutions in store. 50 tier one retailers responded.