Retail & Distribution

How store associates are remaking retail

25 March 2022

3 min
Smart retailers are responding to their store associates’ needs and working to equip them with the best apps, data and devices.

Staff say :

  • Want to spend more time serving customers and less time on repetitive stock handling tasks.
  • We are fed up having to wade through a mix of spreadsheets, bulletins, emails and schedules just to manage roles and demonstrate compliance
  • We want greater opportunities for advancement.

Read on to discover how technology is helping staff to manage their roles and achieve greater job satisfaction.

Equipping store associates to deliver the future of retail

Where once there was a mismatch between retailers and their staff, now they can collaborate for success using shared goals supported by the same data, apps and devices. This is important in an industry that suffers from high staff turnover, when in fact it is staff that are more important than ever; it is they who will be delivering the future of retail.


of global retail sales will still be through stores in 2024


of shoppers say the ability to shop in person/in a store is important when deciding which brand or retailer to buy from.

So, consumers remain dependent on store staff. However, they are also expecting more in store, which will put pressure on staff in terms of their skills and capabilities. Consumers shopping in store have already started their journeys on web sites and social media, and are much better informed than they used to be; staff will therefore have to be equally well-informed, or if not, know that they can access information needed quickly.


Store associates now play many roles

Staff also have new roles to play, many of which came to the fore during the pandemic, not least click and collect, as customers sought to stay safe and not spend time in store. Google points out, around 45% of global shoppers buy online and then pick up in-store. They may also be coming in to return goods; as research by Invesp shows that 30% of products ordered online are returned compared to 8.89% in brick-and-mortar stores.

These roles may not even involve a customer in the store of the future; 67% of consumers want to engage with store associates remotely, according to research by Mercaux, and we are seeing the rise of livestreaming whereby customers at home connect with staff via video call for product demos and to receive a personalised experience.


The always connected store associate

While this growing number of roles sounds like a threat rather than an opportunity, this is exactly the kind of environment staff want to work in, one with variety, challenge, socialising and opportunities for innovation and advancement. However, to become empowered to fulfil these roles, they need to be equipped with the tools that will enable them to be always connected in store and on line, connected to transaction systems such as the point of sale and payment apps, to web sites and social media, and to customer, order and corporate data.

In this way, the new generation of store associate will remake retail in true cross channel style, able to embrace newer formats and channels as they develop, including pop ups, in-event retail, quick commerce and ultimately, hybrids of them .

Read our infographic to understand how technology will help store associates to succeed in multiples roles.

To find out more download the Future of Retail Report

Future of Retail 2022, published in the Times, examines retail trends for 2022 and beyond. Unlock this report for insights on the high street of the future, what retailers in the UK, Europe and the USA can learn from their counterparts in emerging markets, and much more.

Unlock the full report

Are your store associates empowered with the right solutions to help them deliver a more personalised, memorable and seamless shopping experience?

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