The Candid Voice in Retail Technology: Objective Insights, Pragmatic Advice

Sneak Peek: Our Brand New Workforce Report

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Though it’s incredibly difficult to find things that are “good” to have come out of this pandemic, most of us have been trying to do that very thing. Spending more time with loved ones, getting into shape, learning to play an instrument – we’ve all heard some pretty compelling stories about the ways some people have been trying to make lemonade out of 2020’s otherwise sour fruit.

At RSR, it’s not even a conscious effort, we just had a bit of dumb luck. We concluded a series of research reports directly before the outbreak that just happened (and we cannot take any credit for this), to be on the very topics that would be the most interesting once the world shut down. Buy Online/Pickup in Store (a topic we’d never studied before) was one. Retailers plans for their stores was another. But perhaps most interestingly, we decided to survey retailers about their workforce – something we hadn’t really done in years.

As a result, we have a snapshot of how retailers were thinking about these topics precisely in the days and weeks just prior to everything changing. This naturally begs the question: what’s remained static, and what’s been flipped on its head? So we’ve started revisiting these topics with brand new surveys, several months into this new/never normal.

This means in a few weeks we’ll be publishing a brand new report, Beyond COVID: The Role Of Retail Employees in 2020. It’s an exclusive piece of research, commissioned by Ceridian, and takes an in-depth look at how the many disruptions of 2020 (of which there have been no shortage), are actively altering the retailer/employee dynamic – in real time. We think you’ll find it fascinating. And just to give a brief glimpses into what we found, consider just this one chart:


The opportunity for employees to ask a fellow office worker, “How do you do this again?”, just doesn’t exist anymore. Neither does the chance to lobby IT to “help a fellow worker out” by changing a report or a screen on the fly. Today, office work involves conference calls, cameras, and/or email, where conversations can go on endlessly and all nuance is lost. We can see clearly just how dramatically this has affected retailers in the figure above.

Ironically, it’s a very similar dichotomy to the one retailers face in their stores. “Store support” is a “thing” in the world of retail IT. And it has rarely been a fun interaction for people on either side of the problem. Store support is expensive, it can be frustrating for those being supported and those performing the support, but it’s not always effective. Now we find ourselves in the same situation with the rest of the workforce.

What can be done?

You’ll have to read the full report when it releases to find out. We promise to send an invitation to download it the moment it publishes.

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Articles & Opinions November 10, 2020
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