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8 Min Read

CX is an inside job: Retailers need advanced IT solutions

March 21, 2023

Short on time? Read the key takeaways:

  • Outdated technology has a negative impact on employee satisfaction, engagement, and productivity, which can lead to high turnover costs for retailers.
  • Advanced technology, such as workstream collaboration and virtual assistants, can increase worker satisfaction and improve customer experience.
  • Retailers can benefit from AI and ML in controlling costs and expanding business.
  • IT solutions for retailers must be simple and secure, with intuitive interfaces and proper cybersecurity measures in place to maintain customer trust.

Many employees today are tech-savvy and expect that same level of technological sophistication from employers as well. Retail is no exception. Everybody wins when retailers provide the tools and technology workers need to work efficiently and deliver quality customer service.  

When retailers are slow to outfit workers with state-of-the-art technology, engagement suffers for employees and customers. Front-office and other retail workers are critical to retailers’ success. And retailers need workers to be ready and willing to provide customers with the best possible experiences.

Outdated technology has a cost

Outdated technology can create a domino effect that adversely affects customer experience (CX) and productivity. And that can hurt retailers’ reputations and bottom lines.

Research suggests that 49% of workers would leave a job over technology frustrations. And actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. $483-$605 billion annually in lost productivity.

Employee turnover is costly for retailers, too. Every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs six to nine months’ salary on average. And finding suitable replacements can be challenging with today’s low employment.

Advanced technology increases worker satisfaction and pride

The extent to which businesses adopt leading technology has a deep and lasting impact on productivity and employee attitudes and emotions.

  • 94% of workers say technology has improved their work life
  • 72% said they would not have been able to do their jobs with outdated technology

As we all know, happy workers make happy customers. So, retailers must expand their use of technology to make their workers’ jobs less frustrating and more engaging.

Workstream collaboration delivers results for workers and customers

One IT solution that’s paying off for retailers is workstream collaboration. It allows retail workers to collaborate easily with colleagues and quickly and securely access and share data.

Digital workplace technologies:

  • Enable employees to work more effectively with less friction
  • Ensure that employees can securely access task-critical resources anywhere
  • Foster better engagement through analytics

Here’s an example. Multinational retail company Cencosud is among the businesses benefitting from such technology. The company employs Unisys Digital Workplace Services with 24/7 support in Portuguese and Spanish. This implementation provides a globally consistent end-user experience via a unified service desk model, helping Cencosud to exceed its target 70% first call resolution rate and reduce service delivery costs by about 20%.

A large U.S.-based organic supermarket chain is another retailer leveraging advanced digital workplace technology to enhance employee and customer experiences. The goal, in this case, was to provide quality organic food and leverage fair trade practices as cost-effectively as possible. Through its work with Unisys, this large chain improved end-user experience via onsite field services and minimized service desk workload by optimizing resolution times, freeing up resources to focus on providing value-added services to end users with a capacity to manage 25,000+ calls per month, and increasing.

Retailers can ring up big benefits from automation

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are rising in retailers’ top spending priorities as AI and ML are widely considered game changers for retail.

Retailers can increase worker engagement and productivity by using virtual assistants for routine tasks and employing speech-to-text and text-to-speech services to enhance chatbots and virtual assistants. This enables retail employees to move faster so retailers can control costs. And it can allow retailers to offer customers more options, expand and grow.

Just look at what Grupo Exito, with more than 1,500 stores in South America, has achieved. Grupo Exito adopted an automation process solution, help desk services and other capabilities from Unisys and our partner Dell EMC. These efforts helped the retailer bring new stores to four countries in the region,  offer a wide variety of products across multiple channels and increase employee efficiency and response times.

IT solutions must be simple and secure

These solutions must be easy for retailers to use to benefit from their IT investments. If they are not, employees won’t work with them. And shoppers won’t benefit either.

Intuitive interfaces go a long way in helping retail employees embrace new IT technologies such as workspace collaboration and virtual assistants. Providing employees with a consistent experience regardless of device type or location also drives adoption. Unisys makes advanced IT solutions intuitive and accessible for retail employees.

The importance of cybersecurity to retailers also cannot be underestimated. Shoppers expect retailers to keep their data safe when they make a purchase. Retailers that fail to do that lose consumer trust, business and reputation.

Closing the deal

Today’s competitive retail environment, in which Amazon presents a large and growing risk, demands engaged employees. Retailers can engage employees by improving their work experiences. And they can use technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and workstream collaboration to do that.

Learn how your retail business can maximize employee engagement — and create happy customers and a profitable, growing retail industry in the process.

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