Brick and mortar retailers are in trouble

UnknownConsumers are flexing their muscles when it comes to where they spend their money.  Online they are demanding things like free shipping and expedited delivery off line they want selection and great service. Can brick and mortar retailers pay employees minimum wage and still expect them to “care” about what they do?

As a consultant, I often am asked to teach retail sales staff on how to approach finicky customers.  At its heart is the belief that retail sales people care about what they are doing, but unfortunately those who receive low hourly pay often aren’t willing to go the extra mile to ensure a good customer experience.

Some retailers, like Trader Joe’s and Costco’s, not only pay their people well, they also ensure they receive  great benefits to keep them engaged as an employee and represent their retail brand to consumers.  However a lot of retailers are losing a lot of customers because they don’t understand that to attract talented people you have to pat well and ensure that employees get time off to have a life outside of work.

At the pay desk

There are calls across the U.S. To raise the minimum wage, but the same hourly wage may not be enough in cities like Boston, New York and San Francisco.  The story that went viral about a Yelp employee who couldn’t afford to eat because of the cost of rent in San Francisco is a perfect example of potential problems.  Yelp, rather than acknowledging the problem, fired the employee and said they were relocating their customer service to Arizona which is not going to get employees to treat people better.

Research has shown that consumers will pay more for outstanding service and brands that respond to them on social media, but in “strip mall America” the shortage of qualified people is a real threat to retailers.  What can they do to address the problem…

1ne: Ensure employees share in the success of your company.

walmart_greeter

2wo: Pay good wages to good people and pay higher wages to employees who prove that they care about what they are doing.

3hree: Culture and benefits = investment in your store.

4our: Hire people who are smart and want to learn.

5ive: Make sure you give them time off so they can have a life.