It’s not every day that you’re invited to participate in one of your favorite podcasts so when Frontline Innovators co-host Gene Signorini invited me to discuss retail challenges and opportunities, I eagerly accepted the invitation. Together Gene, and co-host Justin Lake serve up a podcast that’s both engaging and informative covering digital transformation across a wide range of industries and speakers.
If you listen to the podcast, you’ll hear I have a “hobby,” as Signorini refers to it, that I started over two years ago as frontline worker at my favorite foodie grocery store Central Market. Stores are the true pulse of retail and I’ve been eager to get back working in a store for some time now. Being on the frontline truly granted me a front row seat to the rollercoaster retail workers have been riding for two years while providing an interesting perspective for my day job as VP of Sales Enablement at Mainstreet.
Rapid Retail Technology Changes
While retail had to adapt its business model overnight, I’ve witnessed retail’s amazing resiliency and accelerated adoption of tech solutions. Technologies that retailers were considering implementing but had no compelling reason to move forward, suddenly became essential, not optional.
- Curbside – Instantly curbside delivery was necessary with stores closed to in-person shopping in many areas around the country. Retailers had to find a way to get products into shoppers’ hands.
- Micro Fulfillment Centers – Creative retailers took old stores that might have otherwise been closed and made them dark stores or micro-fulfillment centers to service multiple stores.
- Mobility – We’ve been preaching the power of mobility at Mainstreet for a long time. It’s now a must-have, not optional
Frontline Workers in the Trenches Take the Tech Hit
Retail workers are a wonderful melting pot of all ages and background, from high schoolers working their first job to retirees looking for something to do in their third act. Regardless of their ability or experience, they were all thrown new technology over the last 2 years.
Some advice for companies looking for successful adoption of the new tech they invested in last year:
- Take away fear factor
- Advocate what the tech can do for them
- Focus on education and training
Even though our conversation focused primarily on retail, we touched briefly on the restaurant industry. You can see how the same theme translates to the restaurant industry as it faced similar leaps in technology advancement.
In the podcast, we touch on these topics and discuss the state of the union, two years later, and how retailers are managing the investment they made in their stores and new technology for their frontline workers.
I hope you enjoy the discussion and would love your feedback!