Common Store Communications Problems and How to Fix Them
Looking to Streamline Communication and Boost Productivity In-Store? Here Are Some Solutions
Good communication makes retail stores run smoothly because it keeps employees informed and engaged. When they understand everything from company policies to current promotions, store associates are better able to represent the brand and sell products to customers.
But getting that information to employees can be tricky. The nature of retail means that not all employees will be gathered together with the same manager simultaneously, so retailers rely on a chain of communication to make sure everyone stays up-to-date, regardless of when they’re in-store.
Thankfully, there are ways to communicate with store teams to ensure that no information slips through the gaps.
Here are some common in-store communication problems and how to fix them.
Problem #1: Messages Aren’t Getting Read
Plenty of time and resources may get spent on curating information to send down to employees. But all of that is wasted if they’re unable to find it or don’t know that they’re supposed to read it.
Whether delivered in an email, shared through a text message, or posted on a staff room bulletin board, messages can get lost or ignored. That can result in store associates missing out on important memos about new products and promotions, upcoming scheduling changes, or company policy updates, which leads to a poor in-store experience, confusion amongst colleagues, and rules not being followed.
Solution: Ensure Employees Read Store Communications Each Shift
All those missing messages can be solved by digitizing store communications and keeping track of who has read what.
Each employee can check out the latest information using a retail communication platform like Foko Retail, which centralizes communications and makes it easy to see who has seen particular company announcements, documents, and conversations. Employees can sign in via the app at the beginning of their shift and catch up on what they’ve missed since they last worked.
Someone coming back from a week off will have more to catch up on than someone who closed the store last night, of course. But it’s a small habit to integrate into associates’ and supervisors’ daily routines that can have a huge impact on store productivity and execution.
Problem #2: Important Information Isn’t Available on the Shop Floor
Regardless of the method of communication, messages often require store associates to leave the floor to receive them. Computers with access to company portals, employees’ own devices, and staff bulletin boards are generally located in back rooms or managers’ offices, meaning workers have to leave the floor or work longer to read store communications.
Solution: Have Portable Devices on Associates or at Checkout
Portable devices with access to an in-store communication system make everyone’s lives easier. Whether installed on a communal device (e.g., a tablet or computer), at checkout, or on employees’ own devices (if you choose to implement a bring your own device policy), staff can access pertinent information on the sales floor without missing out on opportunities to interact with customers.
Device manufacturing giant Samsung claims, “By putting a mobile device into every associate’s hands, retailers blend the digital, the physical and the personal, transforming the store visit from one where a customer might get their needs fulfilled to one where they certainly will.”
By using portable devices, information about promotions, sales tips, and product details are instantly accessible for employees right on the sales floor, so they can transfer their knowledge directly to customers and improve store performance.
Problem #3: Store Communications Aren’t Brand Consistent
Even once you’ve overcome the challenges of sending and receiving messages, content can be confusing if it isn’t displayed correctly or brand consistently. The medium can affect how information gets conveyed, leading to internal store communications over email or company portals written in confusing corporate jargon or text messages and Whatsapp group chats that seem informal because they’re unformatted and hard to read.
Solution: Use Clear, Concise, and Professional Messaging Across the Company
You want to ensure that all store communications are clear, concise, and easy to understand while maintaining a professional tone.
Consolidating all in-store communication into one platform makes it easy to remain consistent across all messaging, letting you properly format posts that meet company standards. Often, they even allow you to target the right recipients, so as not to overwhelm team members who don’t need to see certain information.
Problem #4: Updates Are Sent from the Top Down
Most incoming messages from head office or regional managers are sent and expected to be shared with staff as is, end of story. Whether printed out and pinned to a board, sent by a mass email from a corporate account or published to a company intranet, these types of store communications don’t elicit thoughtful responses from employees and don’t encourage them to ask questions to clarify information.
Solution: Make In-Store Communication Two-Way
Open lines of communication make it easy for the right information to get to the right people and allows them to start useful conversations. While messages often come from the top down, giving store-level employees a chance to respond with feedback or ask questions.
Store associates also have valuable insights and ideas as to how to complete tasks on the floor most effectively and what customers do or don’t react well to, such as sales pitches, displays, and new products. Sending this information back up to the head office allows retailers to implement changes that create better in-store experiences for both employees and customers.
Problem #5: Messages Are All Over the Place
Technology has made it possible for information to travel instantly. But different people are comfortable with different communication tools. Some employees prefer to use email or text messages, while others prefer checking bulletin boards or custom company portals. However, using so many different platforms means that if an employee isn’t diligently checking all of them, information can get easily missed.
Solution: Centralize Store Communications
Everyone can access all information from the same source by using an app like Foko Retail. This eliminates frantic scrambling for important information buried in a lengthy email thread or on a piece of paper circulating in the staff room that has gone missing. Employees can access documents containing best practices, standard operating procedures, and upcoming promotional schedules, either in-store or on-the-go, keeping everyone on the same page.