Was reading the National Retail Federation’s forecast for Holiday 2011.
One topic caught my eye: the expected level of seasonal store-level employment.
The NRF expects that the industry will hire between 480,000 and 500,000 seasonal workers this year, roughly equal to last year’s 495,000.
We can expect a majority of those individuals to be in the stores – hired at the store, for the store.
A big question for retailers in this omnichannel world: What’s guiding the hiring? Comp-store forecasts or the needs of the omnichannel shopper? If it’s store-level revenue, there’s a good chance of a critical mismatch between the needs of the brand and the level of onsite support.
I recently had a pleasure of working on the team to delivera Cisco technology showcase for retailers, with the requirements that it is accessible from multiple remote locations and allow large or small parties to have an immersive demonstration experience.
The result is the Retail BDOT (Business Demonstrations over TelePresence). Leveraging Cisco TelePresence technology, we connect visitors to a day in life of a retailer made possible with Cisco technology.
Some of the questions the demonstrations are designed to address include:
Allow me to suggest a must-read volume for all retail technologists: How We Decide, by Jonah Lehrer.
Good friend and UK colleague Lisa Fretwell tipped me off to this book, which explores – through entertaining narratives and occasional in-the-weeds psychology – the process by which we make decisions, and why certain decisions are made.
Obviously an important topic to those of us seeking to influence consumer behavior.
Two caveats: If you’re looking for a bullet-point guide on how to position your next in-store solution, this isn’t it. It also doesn’t (thankfully) boil down neatly into nifty PowerPoint slides.
I have been asking myself why this personal technology revolution is so hard for retailers.There are a number of pretty obvious answers on the surface.
The pace of innovation, for one. Given that the standard in-store technology refresh cycle is often measured in decades, it’s more than a bit frightening to think that today’s all-store devices might be old school in six months.
The fact that it’s about more than devices and apps, for another. Smart retailers know that the operational implication of the revolution is a single-brand, multi-touchpoint, flexible fulfillment future. Which will be millions and years in the making.
Which is enough to give any CIO – let alone CEO – pause.
I wonder, though, if there’s not another big reason. One that’s buried deep inside the financial fabric of retail.
Consumers today are highly attached to mobile technology and are using it as part of their daily lives and shopping experiences. According to Nielson forty percent of mobile consumers over 18 in the U.S. now have smartphones. As these users consume bandwidth to send and retrieve content from SMS, MMS, Email, and social media apps such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter that supports pictures and videos, they are increasingly looking to Wi Fi to improve their experience.
Are retailers offer their shopping channels (including store, web, voice and social media) to consumers, the consumers are expecting to be able to use their mobile device across all the channels whereever they are, at home, at work, and IN YOUR STORE.
As a retailer, facilitating mobility in the retail store can differentiate you from the competition, plus help you meet the soaring expectations of your customers. On the other hand, allowing access to your wireless network poses potential risks. You’ve got to ensure the security of your data, comply with PCI mandates, prevent misuse and interference, and provide consistent bandwidth for your own operations.
For help retailers address this issue, we are hosting a webcast on October 20th 10:00am Pacific Time titled