Internal communications is important no matter what business you're in. But it's especially important in retail. It's an industry in which the way you communicate with your employees directly reflects on their interactions with your customers.
One Real-World Example: Marie
Marie is a part-timer and mainly works evenings and weekends. She's busy with her family life and doesn’t think much about her job in her free time.
One Friday, she arrives at work to start her shift and a customer asks if the summer sale has begun, and if so, where she can find the products included.
Marie has no idea.
This is not an uncommon problem in retail, and it can result in two reactions that are both highly undesirable. First, Marie will be annoyed with management or her coworkers for not telling her what she needs to do her job. Second, the customer will be unsatisfied and likely get the impression that the staff lacks training and professionalism.
The worst case scenario is that you lose both your customer and your employee.
Internal Retail Communication Directly Impacts Your Customers
Communication in large corporate structures typically travels top-down. Information is shared with each individual country, region, and store—mostly via email—landing on a store manager’s desktop computer.
However, it's rare that every store employee is present at the same time or has access to a desktop computer. That makes it hard for the manager to effectively distribute information. Instead, it's spread via the break room bulletin board, between shifts, or through the grapevine. This causes delays and fake news, leaving people like Maria completely out of the loop.
In retail, ill-trained and ill-informed staff have a direct, negative effect on the customer experience. In today's competitive market, one bad experience is all a customer needs to decide to go somewhere else.
This effect is even more harmful in large companies with great diversity and a global presence. Different languages, time-zones, and hierarchies make spreading information even more difficult and complicated.
Broken Brand Promises Result in Lost Customers
Brand promises are a powerful thing. In our competitive and oversatured business environment, companies must rely on the strength of their brands and the promises they present, embodied by their people and translated through its products, services, and actions.
In every industry, consumers face overwhelming choices, yet a well-executed and consistent brand promise can drive customer loyalty, build reputation, and increase revenue. You can say the exact opposite about a failed or inconsistent brand promise.
Engaged Employees Prevent Communication Voids
Communication is the basis of the relationship your customers have with your brand, as well as the relationship you have with your employees. New developments like employee apps offer solutions that allow you to reach your people no matter where they are. Communication happens on a widely accepted and used mobile channel: the smartphone.
70% of employees today don’t work at a desk. In order to reach everybody, especially in such a dispersed business as retail, communication has to go digital. These days, digital means mobile, and mobile means app. Putting news on the smartphones of your employees means having a wider reach than ever before, with the ability to communicate immediately with every one of your employees. This simply isn't possible on any other device.
In addition, apps enable push notifications, a real game changer in internal communication. An app allows you to directly connect with all of your locations while simultaneously enabling you to share specific details like shift plans or location specific news.
Case Study: How Danish Retailer Nettoline Solved Their Comms Problems With an Employee App
Like many other big retailers, Nettoline faced the internal communication challenge of multiple locations spread out over several different countries and markets. As they grew, their distributed workforce felt less and less connected and the need for a new internal comms platform arose in order to spread information on products, as well as sharing marketing, teaching, and training information. So they implemented their own branded employee app.
Mads L. Jakobsen, Marketing Manager for Nettoline's Norweigan and Swedish markets, shared his experience that led him to a Staffbase Employee app:
Which kinds of problems led Nettoline to Staffbase?
Having retailers in several countries in different markets created a need for greater internal communication about our products, marketing, teaching, training, etc. Having an intranet that was “growing old” made the need for a new system obvious. At the same time, only a few people at our headquarters were able to post news on the old system, due to the complicated interface. Furthermore, the old system was only available through a browser and not mobile friendly at all.
Why did you choose Staffbase?
Staffbase was the obvious choice to provide a new system that could facilitate a new infrastructure: it is very user-friendly, no programming and HTML skills are needed, there was the possibility to set up several communication channels, there was the advanced possibility to set up admin access levels, and it would be our own branded app that we could use on all platforms: desktop, tablets, and smartphones!
We launched the system to our retailers in October 2016. It's easy to create new users and once they click on the email invitation and chose a password they're connected to the system. After the signup process is done it seems like everyone can use the system without difficulties. It has also been a great advantage that several of our administrators are able to post information and news themselves on any device!
Which use cases did you start with?
We started with the static information/pages to give the users access to important news about our company and our products. After that we started posting news.
What is your most used/loved feature?
The news feed—and the possibility to make as many channels as you want. And the ability to control when and how the users will be notified, how they can respond, and how long the information will be published.
Read more about employee communication apps:
- Employee Communication Apps: 10 Benefits of a Mobile Comms Platform
- Employee Apps: 8 Steps for Finding the Best
- Learn more about the Staffbase Internal Communications App
- Employee Engagement Apps: 10 Decisions to Make Before You Start
- Why Companies Choose Staffbase as their Employee Communications Platform