OPERATIONS

Survey: Store associates would benefit from video training

BY Marianne Wilson

San Bruno, Calif. — Over 35% of respondents received no formal training, and 28% were asked to read a manual or a handbook, according to a recent study of retail store associates by Qumu, a provider of secure multimedia content management and delivery solutions. The survey also revealed that retail employees are looking for improved executive communication to provide them with a greater understanding of company strategy (57%), more connectedness to the company community (47%), and understanding of activity in other stores (46%).

The survey also put a spotlight on video training. Ninety-four percent of store associates recognize the benefit of receiving video training, suggesting that video is a ripe communication medium for retailers to embrace, according to the report. The associates outlined a wide range of benefits to training by video-on-demand as opposed to current training methods, including receiving training a time and location of convenience and when most effective (57%), increased sales performance (49%), better customer experience (44%), and better staff retention (47%).

"Video is fantastic way to engage people who work in retail stores," said Vern Hanzlik, senior VP and general manager, Qumu. "When you think about the demographic of store employees, you are looking at a huge number of ‘digital natives’ whose lives revolve around You Tube, social channels, mobile and connected experiences."

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OPERATIONS

Rite Aid renews agreement with e-source provider Intesource

BY Marianne Wilson

Phoenix — Rite Aid has renewed its sourcing partnership with Intesource, an e-sourcing provider in the retail, drugstore, grocery and restaurant industries.

Rite Aid has leveraged Intesource’s e-sourcing technology since 2009. The partnership helped the chain secure significant savings on both direct and indirect categories — including snow plowing services — and drove efficiencies across the entire supply chain.

The retailer uses Intesource’s sourcing experts as an extension of its own e–sourcing team. By taking on complicated events and special projects that require additional resources, Intesource enables Rite Aid to invest its internal resources on sourcing more categories and securing additional savings.

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SAP: Retail’s future will be personalized, global

BY Dan Berthiaume

Dallas – Increased one-to-one personalization and a growing global economy are two key “megatrends” that will help steer the future direction of retail, according to Dr. Chakib Bouhdary, executive VP of retail industry solutions for SAP. Bouhdary discussed these and other trends in his Oct. 8 keynote address, “Megatrends and the Future of Retailing,” at the SAP Retail Forum 2013 in Dallas.

Bouhdary differentiated global business from international business, saying the rapid expansion of a global middle class will drive demand for products such as cars and flat-screen TVs, as well as for access to services such as hospitals.

“International means opening a local office and distribution,” said Bouhdary. “Global means manufacturing in that country for that country with an embedded model.”

In addition, Bouhdary said a new value chain where brands such as Nike can bypass traditional distribution channels and third-party logistics providers can allow pure-play companies to quickly begin serving consumers, as well as the advent of cloud computing, are creating an era where retailers and brands serve a “segment of one.”

“Sixty to eighty percent of people willingly share information with a retailer,” said Bouhdary.

To capitalize on this situation, Bouhdary said retailers must use Big Data technologies like SAP HANA to collect personal customer information and provide optimized offers based on their individual histories and preferences. In the case of mobile customers, a personalized upsell or cross-sell offer is 30% more effective when delivered within two seconds of initial product selection.

“The world will be run by algorithms,” predicted Bouhdary.

Bouhdary concluded by saying retailers will take a renewed interest in supply chain, since one-to-one segmentation will not produce effective results unless customers can get promoted products in or near real time.

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