As the autumn air turns crisp and the leaves fall, retailers around the country are gearing up for what they hope is a highly profitable holiday season. But besides making sure they’re fully stocked with the holiday gifts customers want, they are also taking stock of everything they learned in 2015 – so they can up their game after the New Year rolls around.
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This is particularly true in the realm of sophisticated technology tools, which can now be found in every nook and cranny of today’s leading retail organizations – from up and down the supply chain and every corner of the store, across marketing departments, and, of course, at the very core of ecommerce and mobile. Savvy retailers know that in order to compete in a fast-paced landscape of demanding customers looking for shopping Nirvana through smartphones and social media, they need to keep up with constantly evolving technology at every turn.
These are seven big lessons retailers learned in 2015, with an eye towards 2016 success:
1. Sales associates need to be tech-empowered
In 2015, retailers learned that sales associates can no longer be focused on the details of just one location, but have insight into available inventory across the brand’s full network, as well as an understanding of customer preferences and transaction histories,” says Vikas Aron, director at Manhattan Associates, a supply chain software provider. “Essentially, they are selling the enterprise, not just the stock of one location, and as such they must act as enterprise sales associates.” That means retailers must focus on training their associates to use and understand technology tools not only to serve in-store customers, but pick, pack and ship inventory and handle omnichannel orders and questions.
[Related: 5 cutting-edge retail technology trends]
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