IRCE exhibition hall, 2015.

Salesfloor’s latest Retail Associate Technology Study reveals store employees who not only feel unequipped in regard to job-related technology, but also believe they’re not reaching their full potential.

Salesfloor surveyed 254 North American retail associates across a number of product categories, compensation models and store sizes. Respondents answered questions about their jobs and the impact of technology on job satisfaction and functions, happiness at work and how they see store associate roles evolving in the future.

The study revealed that one in four associates said they lack strategic digital tools and technology to excel at their jobs as they face competition against online shopping’s ever-evolving landscape. As a result, only half of sales associates feel they are reaching their maximum potential and 72 percent said they are more likely to stay with a retailer if they’re equipped with the right technology and sales tools.

For retailers that have adopted new technologies for associates, 90 percent said they are primed to perform well, which creates a link between technology and productivity, according to the report.

Oscar Sachs, a cofounder and chief executive officer of Salesfloor, said that “many retailers have been slow to leverage new technology for associates and our study shows that when associates are equipped with the proper technology they are happier, have a bigger impact on sales and stay with the company.”

big data changes shopping journey

The role of data is changing the consumer experience.  Shutterstock / McIek

“As retailers face one of the toughest times in decades, it is important that they invest in their people and equip them with technology to serve the all-channel customer as part of their return to growth strategy,” Sachs added.

Also of note was that associates employing digital tools in-store feel seven times more confident competing with mammoth online retailers the likes of Amazon and eBay, compared to associates who lack access to digital technology. And, two out of three associates surveyed said access to digital tools is a “must-have” when considering a position with a future retailer.

“Reports on the demise of the retail industry are largely based on the increasing success of online retailers, but we found that for associates who are using technology, online competition isn’t nearly as big of a concern,” said Sachs. “When associates have the technology needed to expand their relationships with customers and drive sales, they are able to bridge the gap between stores and online which levels the playing field with online competitors.”

Ben Rodier, the chief client officer and cofounder of Salesfloor, said that “our retailers who have equipped their associates with proper tools are a testament to our study findings. Their associates feel more empowered, happier and confident, which has ultimately led to higher associate retention, recruitment rates and increased sales.”

Salesfloor’s clients include Saks Fifth Avenue, Kiehl’s and Lord & Taylor.

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