Increasing automation in the storefront may mean less retail worker idling on “menial tasks” at the checkout by 2025 if staffing research checks out.
Understaffing is retail workers’ biggest point of frustration, according to a report released Monday by REPL Group, a U.K.-based consulting and technology group specializing in workforce management, point-of-sale and in-store digital solutions. Through leveraging their AI solutions and data science, REPL Group has helped save their customers millions of dollars in staffing requirements.
The report surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers and 500 retail workers to outline consumer expectations of increasing automation in the retail environment, as well as retail workers’ impression of how job expectations adapt for the future of in-store experiences. Agreement intersects with “less staff” and “more tech.”
According to the report, by 2025, “66 percent of consumers expect there to be even fewer staff in stores and instead to encounter more automated processes, virtual assistants and virtual reality technology.”
From the retail employees’ perspectives, more than “70 percent agree that a pay desk will no longer be the area in the store where the greatest value, advertising, or customer retention is provided.” Benefits for both consumer and employee are actualized with the addition of artificial intelligence and predictive business models, according to Mike Callender, executive chairman of REPL Group.
The findings show that retail is at a “pivotal point in its evolution” and innovative technologies can enhance employee engagement and staffing while improving the customer experience.
Customer experience may be improved by redirecting in-store staff to value-add activities, while innovative technology “saves costs and assists in answering what we’re seeing as the biggest management frustration — understaffing,” Callender said in a statement.
And so, some 80 percent of retail worker survey respondents agreed that more efficient management of stores and better forecasting would improve their job satisfaction.
Leveraging artificial intelligence and data science, REPL Group serves to help retailers and businesses better grasp supply chain and workforce requirements with AI-powered solutions and a dynamic workforce mobility app.