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Tech Guest Viewpoint: ‘Tis the Season to Get Interactive


In preparation for the holiday rush, retailers have begun the timely process of interviewing, hiring and training seasonal employees.

Seasonal workers are ingrained in the retail process and have become a requirement for filling orders and providing added customer service. They are on-boarded, trained and then, in most cases, let go once the holiday season is over, costing retail stores both time and money. A CAP study found that it costs on average $3,328 to find, hire and train a replacement for a $10/hour retail employee, which can add up quickly for large retailers.

The incorporation of interactive technology in retail stores, however, is changing the seasonal sales environment and can reduce dependence on seasonal workers. Not only does interactive technology help to connect the dots for employees and customers throughout the sales process, but it can also help to engage employees with an organization to facilitate a dynamic shopping experience that keeps consumers coming back.

HR departments have to onboard seasonal workers in a timely manner, which can often result in a gap in the seasonal employee’s basic product knowledge and understanding of business processes. When faced with bustling stores during the holiday season, customers expect store employees to be well versed on hot-selling items and making the sale may even depend on it. Luckily, the incorporation of interactive technology can serve as a solution.

Interactive displays can be programmed and customized to host a general merchandise registry for a retailer and serve as a vault of easy-to-access information for customer’s right from their fingertips – but it doesn’t end there.

A customer can place an item, such as a watch, on an interactive display and instantly retrieve additional details about it. With interactive displays, retailers have the opportunity to feature suggested products and add-on services that seasonal employees may not be aware of like a watch case or additional warranty that the customer may be interested in purchasing with the watch. These displays can also show the customer side-by-side comparisons of similar watches to help them make a purchasing decision, leaving customers feeling empowered and informed.

With interactive technology, companies can also incorporate new initiatives for their employees. Having a single place where employees can easily access and understand the benefits and wellness programs offered, as well as ask questions and make comparisons to other plans, will increase their connection to the company overall. Integrating interactive technology into HR efforts can leave an employee feeling more informed, engaged and result in lower turnovers.

As customers demand for a more immersive shopping experience continues to grow, the retail setting has to adapt. Customers often come to the store with product knowledge already. This means that retail employees must be able to facilitate any customer questions.

With the latest interactive technologies, retailers can also easily monitor stores to see where added assistance may be needed. Stores that have incorporated this kind of technology can utilize employees from one store to assist in another store by transporting them virtually through an interactive interface. Allowing this exchange reduces the need to hire more seasonal employees to help man the floor and gives the stores the ability to focus more efforts on current employees that can assist company-wide regardless of location.

While preparing for the holiday season is an intricate process for retail, interactive technology is assisting in the progression and evolution of increased employee and customer satisfaction throughout the sales process. By placing more emphasis on loyal, year-long employees and utilizing interactive technology, retailers can lower the number of seasonal employees and increase the use of tech this holiday season and many more to come.

Jonathan Priestly is VP of marketing for MultiTaction.

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