According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 93,000 fewer jobs in retail during 2018, and that trend looks to continue as the prediction made by the British Retail Consortium in 2016 starts to look increasingly accurate. The BRC said then that almost a million jobs would go over the decade from what is the biggest employer in the private sector. Grim statistics indeed.
It’s fair to say 2018 has been cruel to retail in general. We said goodbye to Toys R Us, Maplin and Poundworld, whilst other big names like Homebase, Mothercare, New Look, House of Fraser and Carpetright have all entered into CVAs, and with news in this past few days that HMV are seeking to do the same, or vanish off the high-street all together. With the closure of so many stores you cannot help but think of all the people impacted by these job losses.
The reasons for these closures and CVA’s are many and varied. From outdated business models to an excess of retail space in the wrong locations with cripplingly high rents and rates. Add to this rising wages and energy costs these are just a few of the headlines adding pressure to retailer’s bottom lines. Arguably however, an even bigger challenge is coming from the customer. With technology driving a shift in behaviour and shopping habits it all serves to highlight how the current retail model is no longer working and delivering on expectations – Retail it seems is need of some reinvention.
The rise of technology
With stronger integration between physical stores and the online experience, combined with digital investment, customers no longer just want good service. They expect awesome experiences and inspiration too. With digital engagement helping retailers remain front of mind whilst supporting their brand in a much more engaging and ongoing way, digital natives want to be dazzled in-store. They want their offline experiences to mirror the digital but even better as reward for the time and effort they have taken to visit their stores. Customers and consumers want to be able to use technology to help them engage with the store, whether physical or digital, and at every step of the shopping journey.
The digital workplace?
The competitive advantage that bricks and mortar retailers hold over online retailers is the personal interaction between the store employee and the customer, and once again, technology is the game changer. By providing store teams with the right digital tools colleagues are best placed to amplify and personalise each customers experience whether that’s scheduling employees to work at the right times, with the right skills to help serve and assist customers best, or keeping them informed on the latest ‘in-store only’ promotions, to sending them time critical tasks to complete, every retailer needs a connected and engaged workforce with digital solutions designed precisely for their digital workplace. Metro delivers all of this and more.
Connect without Compromise
Metro has been designed to connect and support your Operations, Compliance, HR, Buying, Project and Marketing teams from a single digital platform. Designed by retailers for retailers, all metro lines (of which there are nine to choose from featuring more than 80 different applications) operate seamlessly with each other, removing the need for dozens of expensive difficult to maintain applications from different vendors, consolidating into one interconnected suite.
No other solution provides the same breadth of functionality via a single, modular, cloud-based subscription service and offers unrivalled value. We are happy to share experiences on how almost 100 leading brands and retailers have increased their productivity, improved customer experiences and at the same time saved money by having Metro as their digital workplace solution.
Call: +44 2380 816000 or Email: Contact@retail-manager.com to get started with your digital workplace.