CRM systems are likely to move out of the marketing department, on to the shopfloor and into the hands of the humble shop assistant, according to one technology expert.
Writing in the Guardian, Arqiva director of wifi Paul Hellings – a former G4S director of group business development – claims the rise in retail technology will place shop assistants firmly at the sharp end.
His claims come as House of Fraser, Bentalls and Hawes & Curtis have started to introduce mannequin technology which gathers customer data and over 100 retailers on London’s Regent Street are deploying location-aware beacon technology to offer shoppers personalised services through their mobiles.
Hellings said: “Shop assistants will have to manage the threats that technology can sometimes bring to traditional retail. While shoppers are still loath to let go of the tactile shopping experience high street stores offer, they often ‘showroom’ – trying goods in-store and then buying them cheaper online. If assistants are prepared to spot and manage this, they can intervene, saving the sale by offering price matching or in-store discounts.”
Connectivity will also become increasingly central to the in-store experience, as retailers learn how they can exploit the opportunities it brings, Hellings explained.
“Online retailers know everything about their customers, but high street retailers often know a lot less. Loyalty programmes will advance and customer assistants will be expected to manage more complex, cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) systems.”
As retailers continue to embrace technology to get closer to customers and enrich the in-store experience, shop assistant will have to adapt, he said.
“With customers increasingly demanding support with self-service technology and expecting a more connected experience, digital skills will soon be a prerequisite for any customer assistant position, and the role as we know it will likely be no more.”
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