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The 2016 A.T. Kearney Achieving Excellence in Retail Operations (AERO) study explores the pros and cons of store operations in the digital era, as retailers focus on Omnichannel strategy with a move towards ‘Bricks and Clicks’.  In an age where retailers are are revolutionizing themselves to meet more fragmented consumer demands, integration with technology becomes investment priority. However, this does not mean that the human aspect of the retail industry should be left behind…

Here are the key findings:

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Figure one: Consumer feedback on social media impact and social media usage

Fulfillment

  • 24% of people are happy with three-day shipping for ecommerce
  • 42% of people consider ‘delivery made during promised window’ more important than fast shipping

Technology

  • 60% of retailers admit that their companies struggle with executing and measuring their ROI.
  • 78% of retailers are focusing on inventory management. With 33% aiming to invest ‘ in inventory management technology soon’.

Social Media

  •  Over 60% of retailers say they are focusing on social media to create value. But two-thirds of consumers are not engaging at all.
  • Those that do engage with retailers on social media are mainly using it to obtain discounts.

Store Associates: The Unsung Heroes

The AERO findings show that despite investments being directed towards technology and social media engagement, consumers state that experience and service have the most impact on store productivity. However, retailers put too little investment focus on store associates. 70% of retailers expect spans of control to widen in the near future, and almost all express concern about the workforce adapting to omnichannel demands. This shows that retailers need to focus on properly supporting in-store staff, especially in customer service operations.

Bottom Line: Despite the focus on ‘bricks and clicks’ , retail is still a ‘people’ business. People are still a key ingredient to success.

To access the full report, click here