Retail Advisor Newsletter

Quarterly Newsletter

Spring 2014

New Roles for a New Era

We are no doubt entering a new era in retail. Current industry buzzwords and common phrases like omnichannel, digital customer experience and multiple fulfillment options are prevalent throughout industry publications, blogs and conferences. We have all begun to witness the transformation of many retailers as they migrate from single channel to multi-channel, cross-channel and now integrated channel (or omnichannel). Those retailers who have embraced omnichannel as a business strategy and core competency are already beginning to see solid benefits. It's exciting to be part of this transformation as an advisor to the industry, as well as from the viewpoint of a consumer.

My three kids range from millennial-aged to the next generation, and I wonder what their retail shopping experiences will be like in the future. They also will be part of those generations' workforce, and chances are good that they - like over 14 million other workers - will at some point hold a position in retail. I wonder what those job experiences will be like as well.

To address this new era, retailers are morphing their traditional brick- and-mortar environments into formats that support new customer value propositions and experiences. In Parker Avery's most recent research study, "Channel Integration in the Store," we found that the top areas of impact were inventory management, front end technology, customer experience and customer service. Furthermore, two of the top five challenges identified with channel integration were store labor costs (#2) and process execution (#5). This combination of impacts and challenges implies that employees in a retail store environment will also experience change, for it is they who will be handling new omnichannel processes and systems.

What those new roles and responsibilities will look like will be different for each retailer. We have worked with many companies who are in varying stages of closely assessing each of their store roles and trying to best align them with new omnichannel requirements - even with the knowledge that these requirements are evolving as consumer's wants and needs change. Leveraging the wisdom and experience of older generations with the capabilities and enthusiasm of millennials will be key in defining these new retail store organizations. We explore this concept in a recent Parker Avery Point of View: "Store Labor and Role Transformation." We believe training, development plans, compensation, incentives and metrics will all need to be scrutinized to ensure they support new retail business models.

We are taking an even deeper dive into store roles in the first of our 2014 research studies, titled "New Roles for Retail." This study will look at the store labor environment and examine impacts from multiple perspectives: channel integration, government legislation, competition, millennials and more. I invite you to participate in this study, where I believe we will undercover some valuable findings and discuss innovative approaches to handling store labor.

It's exciting to watch and be a part of this continuing transformation. If you are considering initiatives involving labor, roles or productivity within your own stores or would just like to toss around some ideas, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Robert Kaufman
CEO, The Parker Avery Group

Thought Leadership

Ethical Fashion:
Designing the Future with Supply Chain Transparency

Consumers are using their digital voices to directly impact every aspect of a brand's equity and pushing companies to provide more commitment to transparency and sustainability...


Store Labor and Role Transformation:
A New Era for Retail Store Associates

The roles and expectations of store employees are changing, and retailers need new ways to incent their staff and drive good behaviors, as well as effectively integrate millennials into the workforce....


Research Study: Channel Integration in the Store:
How omnichannel initiatives are impacting store level people, processes and systems

Retailers are striving to find the right balance of investment, business change and customer impact, while at the same time trying to determine what the ultimate customer value proposition looks like...


Retail Radar

The Parker Avery Group has just launched our first 2014 research study, "New Roles for Retail," where we explore the changing environment of retail store labor. This study looks at impacts to store staff from all angles:
- Channel integration
- Customer experience
- Government legislation
- Competition
We welcome and encourage participation from retail professionals in Human Resources and / or Store Operations.

Great Reads

Keeping The Millennials, by Joanne Sujansky and Jan Ferri- Reed. Non-fiction, business. Why companies are losing billions in turnover to this generation - and what to do about it.

Leadership Conversations: Challenging High Potential Managers to Become Great Leaders, by Alan S. Berson and Richard G. Stieglitz. Non-fiction, biography. Conversation techniques and tools that can help strong managers become great leaders.


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