Is employee training that inevitable in retail companies now?
In the US, a lot of frontline workers have quit their jobs, particularly in April 2021. Now the companies have no choice before them but to get automation because of depleting manpower. If humans are not present to do their jobs, at least robots should do so. So the employees have to be trained on how to use these robots. Robots can take the place of human beings in doing monotonous jobs.
For example, companies are replacing human beings with the Internet of Things (IoT) based drones for inventory counting purposes. Since such drones are IoT-based, they can update the software on the retailer’s PC with the updated item count on each aisle. So through this software the robot or the retailer can immediately file a reorder to the appropriate supplier.
Hence, employee training has become pivotal for retail companies due to automation and other reasons mentioned below:
Need for Automation:
The most automatable activities are those which include entering customer information into PCs. So, filing clerks can easily be replaced by robots that can easily process such information too with the aid of software.
Due to the impact of the pandemic also, retail stores are opting for automation. It’s because human contact has to be minimized due to their risk of catching the disease. Hence, a robot is a better option. Robots can easily monitor customers for mask compliance without causing any retaliation. Apart from that, they can also alert employees when they are in proximity to others so that proper distance is maintained. Intelligent automation is the need of the hour because customers want an expedited experience, much similar to online shopping.
Hence, robots can be efficiently employed for this purpose because they can help in real-time inventory management.
They can be programmed to count the inventory in the morning and, based on real-time data stored with them about the orders placed, they can order refilling of the inventory by the suitable vendor. Much more, when they have information about the inventory and about how many items it contains, they can immediately inform the customer through phone or in the face about the availability.
But in the case of a human managing the store, the customer dealing becomes slow because they might not have accurate information about the inventory all the time. In fact, mobile robots are necessary because the frontline employee can avoid a visit to the inventory and get updated about its status through them.
Use of RFID tags:
RFID is also a smart tracker to check whether the delivery vehicle to the customer has reached its intended destination. When the frontline employee has an RFID reader, he can easily contact the driver and locate it to ensure that the customer is notified about the delivery status. The driver can’t lie about the location due to the presence of the RFID chip on the vehicle.
The RFID tags are also used for monitoring the product sales because if any customer enters the shop and does shoplifting, he can be stopped at the exit gate due to the RFID chip in the tag of the product. Such activities can be monitored by a robot that’s holding the RFID reader. The usage of robots in retail stores has also been necessitated because humans can’t be deployed during the daytime when there are more people and the risk of infection is high.
Hence, robots can be of such assistance during this time. Moreover, many employees are scared to return to retail stores due to the pandemic and prefer to work from home, which isn’t feasible because they have to manage customers.
Smart scheduling systems are getting used by retail companies, for which employee training is necessary.
This software helps managers in delegating employees to the store in such a manner so that there is no under-staffing to ruin customers’ experiences or over-staffing. This is done because the software can predict the customer inflow into the store at different times of the day. Moreover, if an employee is not available during a certain time due to other issues, that is also taken into account while generating the employees’ schedules for a day.
Use of AI-based mobile apps:
The retail companies don’t treat their frontline workers as occasional now because of the costs involved in training their replacements. Also, due to the pandemic, everyone is not willing to come to the store to work, so companies can’t lose someone who is.
Hence, companies are empowering their employees with knowledge, especially about products and new technologies, for higher job satisfaction and better retention. And that can be done when employees’ training is imparted for faster handling of customer queries, for which speedy access to inventory information is needed.
Therefore, companies are providing mobile apps to employees through which they get JIT information about product prices, their availability, and features. These apps can be used anywhere and is a comfortable option when the retail employee is working from home. Such an app provides answers to retailer’s questions so that their customers’ response times increase.
It’s because these apps are AI-based and know the questions a customer with a certain profile will pose to the retailer. All the answers by the app get generated based on the customer information entered there. Hence, employee training on how to use such apps is mandatory for customer happiness and increased purchases.