The modern consumer has changed almost beyond recognition in recent years, with evolving expectations and tastes that have created a smarter shopper. Gone are the days of simply displaying products and expecting them to be bought: retail businesses have had to change and adapt to succeed in a saturated market. So how can companies ensure they hire the best possible employees to boost their business and multiply customers? We take a look at how the world of retail has changed and how the right retail recruitment can make all the difference.
2015 Retail Trends
In order to identify the best candidates for a vacant retail role, companies first need to define the characteristics of their consumer demographic. As the consumer has changed, with influences from technology and society, so must the staff’s methods of sale. As we progress through 2015, there are many emerging trends that are set to define an entire era of retail consumer. These include:
• Social networking – The power of social networking is no longer reserved for interpersonal communication, rather paving the way for businesses to promote and sell their products in entirely new ways. The introduction of ‘Like2Buy’ buttons on Instagram and ‘Buy Pins’ on Pinterest signal a move towards simple online shopping integrated within social networking platforms.
• Ethical responsibility – The modern consumer may be more likely to use a retail service who are responsible in the way they sell. This could mean a pledge not to use Photoshop on models promoting clothing lines; or initiatives like ‘Give a Pair’ from Warby Parker which helps give glasses to those less fortunate. This is known as Corporate Social Responsibility, and businesses who implement this trend can be more likely to receive loyal and trusting consumers who do not feel they are giving their money to a faceless and uncaring organisation.
• More than loyalty points – The idea of points for purchases has become such a widely-used model that consumers are now expecting more than blanket discounts, rather preferring more personalised discounts and deals with more variety and imagination.
• A huge rise in technology – It goes without saying that new forms of tech will influence the retail industry tenfold. As augmented reality becomes easier to use, clothing stores will be able to sell clothes to people in their homes with the benefit of virtually trying them on. Also, wearable tech and 3D printing are two other emerging tech trends that can easily be implemented into the retail industry offering numerous benefits to the consumer.
• Data and analytics – The use of big data and analytics is something the retail industry can use in order to better understand the mass needs of the consumer. The analytical tools on offer are becoming more and more advanced as the weeks go by, and this can have a huge effect on how well a business knows their customers as well as defining consumer trends, likes and dislikes and key demographics primed for growth.
Retail Recruitment in 2015
We have identified the key trends that are set to make waves in retail, but how can businesses ensure they match changing consumers with contemporary staff who understand the adaptations occurring in the industry? We’ve identified a few key aspects to consider when searching for a top quality retail team:
• Make the business look good – In order to attract great staff, the business must appear that way upon first glance. This means putting effort into the way the business looks from both a consumer and candidate point.
• Make interviews fun – Whereas most interviews take place within an office or back room, retail positions are primarily located on a shop floor and this can be included within the interview. This gives management a chance to visualise the candidate within the actual space they will be working in, and gives the candidate the opportunity to get a feel for the atmosphere and gain confidence throughout the interview process.
• Try role play – Similarly to the previous point, retail positions rely heavily on how the employee converses with the customer so role-playing a few sales can help the interviewer glean an accurate idea of how the candidate will perform. There may be a specific brand tone or language which needs to be put across and this is a good chance to help develop the candidate’s knowledge of the brand.
• Make sure your current employees are happy – Candidates will learn the majority of things about the job from current staff. A candidate who walks into a retail space filled with sullen-looking employees will find it hard to picture themselves any other way, so companies must make sure their existing employees are happy and at their best to communicate a positive message about the brand.
• Be a perfectionist – Employers might be desperate to hire someone but rushing the process can cost more in the long run, and not just financially. In the retail industry, the employees on the shop floor are the front line of communication with customers, and if they are not up to the standards of the brand they can lose customers who may never be regained.
"As augmented reality becomes easier to use, clothing stores will be able to sell clothes to people in their homes with the benefit of virtually trying them on."