Faced with a competitive job market and needing to meet shifting consumer expectations, retailers have gotten creative in their efforts to attract and retain frontline workers — from sign-on bonuses and higher pay to flexible hours and tuition reimbursement. Innovative leaders are also using this as an opportunity to futureproof their businesses and tackle two challenges at once: employee engagement and digital transformation.
By deploying Samsung smartphones and tablets to frontline workers, leading retailers like Walmart, Sally Beauty and Walgreens are equipping their teams with familiar devices that make them more efficient and effective at work. The improved employee experience translates to a better customer experience, better retention and better bottom line.
The high cost of talent shortages
Job openings in the U.S. hit a record-high 11.5 million in March 2022 and still lingered at 11.25 million in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Roughly 1.1 million of those unfilled positions are in the retail industry.
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For retail employers, attracting new workers is only half the battle. Retaining people can be just as tough, and losing them is expensive. Staff shortages negatively affect the customer experience and a business’s overall profitability. In a recent Deloitte survey of retail executives, 70 percent said labor shortages (especially among hourly workers in customer-facing roles) will hamper their growth this year. Fifty-six percent also expect talent gaps among hourly warehouse and distribution workers. Replacing one hourly worker costs at least $1,500.
The Great Resignation isn’t over yet. In a recent Gallup poll, 48 percent of employed people admitted they were actively seeking new opportunities. Forward-thinking retail leaders are laser-focused on improving the employee experience.
Enter Connected Associate programs
For retailers hoping to attract and retain talent, the mission is clear: improve the associate experience. Connected Associate (CA) programs empower employees with the data and tools they need to do more with less.
In a late 2021 survey by IDC, retail leaders reported increased investments in associate productivity, making it their second IT priority for this year.
For many top retailers, investing in associate productivity means deploying mobile devices and apps to the front lines. A recent Incisiv/Verizon survey found that 93 percent of retailers plan to increase their in-store use of consumer mobile devices by 2025.
Putting actionable data into these frontline workers’ hands helps ease friction in the associate journey. They can use these devices to clock in, check their schedules, scan products, check inventory for customers and communicate with co-workers — all from the palm of their hand.
Samsung CA programs are designed to deliver the right mobile work tools to the right employees, all on a single device. They don’t need to track down (and lug around) walkie-talkies, hand scanners, payment sleds or other single-purpose devices — just one familiar consumer-grade smartphone that’s ruggedized for work and loaded with relevant apps and functionality.
Democratize data and empower employees
Smartphones and tablets aren’t new in the retail industry, but they have traditionally been reserved for management and office workers. CA programs democratize data, putting information at the fingertips of retail’s most mobile workers — the frontline workers who are always on the move.
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They’re also always on their phones, using apps to organize their personal lives and social media to stay connected with loved ones. By giving employees similar tools to use at work, retailers lower the learning curve and reduce job friction, which also reduces stress and boosts productivity. Using mobile solutions they already know and love, associates can easily connect with other associates, manage their tasks, retrieve real-time inventory data and take compliance and upskilling training to help them earn promotions.
Some retailers, including Walmart, also leverage smartphones as an employment perk, allowing associates to use them as personal devices off the clock. Using Samsung Knox mobile security, Walmart has configured the phones with separate work and personal profiles, so work apps remain secure and personal data remains private.
Happy workers, happy shoppers, healthy business
Samsung CA programs provide frontline employees with devices like Galaxy XCover6 Pro and Galaxy Tab Active4 Pro that offer a familiar form factor and UI with easy-to-use tools. This streamlines the onboarding process and cuts training costs by up to 25 percent. With the right workforce management tools, associates can work more confidently and efficiently across the wide variety of tasks in their day.
People who feel engaged and empowered at work stay at their jobs longer, and informed workers provide a better customer experience. Equipped with real-time product and inventory insights at their fingertips, associates have everything they need to find and recommend products for customers and even complete checkout on the sales floor.
Simply put, better tools means a better experience for employees and customers — which translates to a healthier bottom line.
Discover more mobile retail solutions designed to help you reconnect associates and consumers, your way. And get your free guide to empowering retail associates with mobile devices and data.