The function for a retailer has to go beyond purely selling goods. Providing retail value for others should not just be concentrated on customers but also on staff as well.
Businesses have to care beyond collecting money. This is about understanding the role and function a retailer portrays to others.
In our previous articles we have looked at the role of technology for retailers and also the data aspect to curate a closer connection to a customer. A key element that links these articles together is that no matter how technology and data is evolving, a vital role is the value provided. Not just for the end user but also for employees.
Taking part in our latest conversation is Pippa Saunders (Marketing Manager), Claire Aldersley (Head Of Design) and Chris Glenister (Technical Designer).
According to 2015 research from TimeTrade and a survey of 1,000 consumers, 85% preferred the in-store experience based on interaction and seeing products prior to purchase. The opportunity is there to build a connection.
When a brand provides value to those who interact within a company, this can put a company in a stronger position and present competitive advantage.
A recent report on Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Retail, conducted by UK Green Building Council, highlighted that the retail sector was someway behind the property sector on how the physical environment can affect staff and customers, this has an impact on overall business performance.
Understanding the physical environment from the perspective of multiple users is an aspect which Resolution Interiors sees as critically important in the success of a project. Claire highlighted, “Working with Farrow & Ball on their new showroom, they had spent considerable time collating feedback from their store managers.”
“This played a crucial part in creating the brief. They had spent time considering those people who use the space on a daily basis.”
“The store managers were recognized as playing a key role in shaping what we finally produced. It was our objective to say, ‘we listened to you.”
This approach of working collaboratively supports Mike Langley’s (Resolution Interiors, Sales & Marketing Director) belief from our previous data article, click here to read.
Mike claimed, “A brand cannot place a champion within the lap of a particular department and then expect it to be successful without the participation of other people.”
Claire continued, “Value is created when others have a voice that believes in a brand ethos. Collaboration with companies (such as Resolution Interiors) helps drive a good brief as it provides insight. It means that you have been through a journey with someone who understands.”
This notion of retailers providing value and interaction with its staff is echoed by Mark Price, soon to be former boss of Waitrose (April 2016), at the Telegraph Festival of Business. He stated, “Smart societies cannot be created without fairness, equality and enfranchisement and business has a crucial role to play here.”
Pippa highlighted, “When emphasis is put on staff as key stakeholders with a voice, that is an important acknowledgement. The London and Manchester rollout of the new O2 concept stores are promoting creative spaces that are staffed by experts. This is in a completely different space from a person selling a mobile phone.”
“Samsung are also taking this approach with their new non transactional showroom for staff and consumers where the whole focus becomes a “living lab and playground” with café, auditorium and a broadcast studio.”
“Value is created when a brand has the attention of its employees. From staff who can explain with enthusiasm the technical side within 02, to the likes of John Lewis closed on Boxing Day so staff can enjoy a full Christmas all goes a long way in the hearts and minds of others.”
“Multiple users within a space present a wider responsibility.” Mentioned Chris, with reference to working on the Tenovus Charity store design.
“A store should not just be about transactions but encouraging people to spend more time.”
“Tenovus presented a community of users. The space is encouraged to educate with demonstrations on up-cycling products, people popping in for impulse buying, a meeting space for the charity choir and the beacon to share the charity story to others. Advocates were generated from within the store and the local areas.”
Shopping is so much more than a necessity.
According to UK retail consultancy, ‘Customer Champions’ one of their predictions for this year is the full recognition of employee engagement on customer engagement.
It is fair to say that the role of technology and data is helping to share a retail landscape, but it’s people who use the spaces and interact with one another.
Value is provided when people participate. From engaging the views of store staff on the style and function of a new retail interior, through to providing expertise beyond product benefits to consumers, a retailer has a role to play that adds value to a community who interact with a brand, and one another.