Empowering Retail Workers

Elevating Retail with Empowered Employees: A Technological Approach

To succeed in an industry that is constantly evolving, retailers must prioritize empowering their workforce with the right technology and solutions to optimize training, effectively connect with consumers, and fulfill responsibilities. A Forrester Consulting study titled “Empower Retail Stores with Smarter Insights and Aligned Technology to Improve CX” reported that current barriers for retail associates include an inability to digitize in-store customer data, outdated systems, and a lack of tools to share insights and operational data. By embracing solutions such as mobile technology, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) training, artificial intelligence (AI), and fostering a culture of empowerment, retailers can enhance the retail associate experience by optimizing onboarding and operations and, in turn, elevate customer satisfaction to drive long-term success.

Investing in immersive training programs that leverage AR and VR can significantly enhance the skills and knowledge of retail associates. From initial onboarding to learning how to keep in-store technology running, these immersive training experiences engage trainees with real-time content for deeper engagement and better retention of information, leading to more proficient and confident employees. In virtual training environments, trainees can interact with virtual products, equipment, chatbots, and scenarios, to refine their skills in a risk-free setting that accelerates the learning process. These types of trainings can also be customizable, and this flexibility ensures that training modules remain relevant and effective even as businesses evolve and expand. Remote trainings allow employees to access training modules from anywhere, breaking down geographical barriers and enabling seamless access to resources.

When employees are ready for the retail floor, AI can also enhance employee experiences and streamline operations. When integrated with mobile point-of-sale (POS) systems, AI empowers associates to assist customers anywhere in the store, reducing wait times and improving the shopping experience. Additionally, handheld devices with AI can also access real-time inventory data and provide accurate product information and locate items swiftly, further improving customer satisfaction.

Retail employees are often the core connection that shapes consumers' shopping journeys and play a critical role in establishing customer loyalty, retainment, and overall business success. Based on these trends, the future of retail belongs to those who invest in their greatest asset—their people.

Fredrik Carlegren

VP and Head of Marketing and Communication
Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions