3 Examples of Retail Innovation to Inspire You in 2022

3 Examples of Retail Innovation to Inspire You in 2022

Dec 3, 2021 5:05:53 PM

Retail | News & Trends

As tumultuous as the pandemic has been, a silver lining is the explosion of innovation and rethinking of processes that seeped into retail as day to day habits were thrown out of the window. Innovative workarounds re-wove the very fabric of the industry as retailers explored new avenues to meet demand when the traditional ways of doing things were not possible. 

It was estimated that COVID-19 accelerated digital transformation by 7 years, and forward-thinking retailers found ways to use digitization to boost both employee and customer experience. Putting the right digital tools in the hands of frontline teams creates a more empowered and efficient workforce who can offer a better quality of service to customers. 

Here are 3 examples of innovative steps retailers are taking to set stores up for a successful 2022.


Using mobile devices to boost frontline collaboration 

Considering that on average 34% of frontline employees feel disconnected from their organization, forward thinking fitness equipment brand Peloton recognized the need to create stronger networks for communication and collaboration across their company. The innovative PeloPulse app connects all team members, including HQ, store teams and partners across the US, Canada, the UK, Europe and Australia.

Employees can use the app to access news feeds and chat tools to communicate with other employees, and share knowledge across the organization, or in smaller specialized groups.

Related: The Complete Guide to Retail Store Communications

The app also tracks progress through store visit reports and flags action items, so it’s clear to store teams exactly what they need to do to improve.

Store teams use the app to receive instructions, ask questions and get feedback from managers.

Furthermore, HQ are able to monitor operational KPIs and track store compliance and performance, so have clear visibility into store operations.

Collaborative tools focused on store teams improve the employee experience by boosting engagement and simplifying sales associate workflows. In turn, this improves the efficiency of teams and the quality of customer service.

Since rolling out Pelopulse in March 2021, Peloton has seen compliance climb to an average of 97%.

Read more: Dolores Arico, Senior Director of Retail Operations @ Peloton, Wins 2021 Retail Innovator Awards


Using mobile devices to boost compliance

Turnover in retail is notoriously high at store level as new hires join and seasonal or temporary hires move on. The average employee turnover for all U.S. industries is around 19%, but for the retail industry it’s over 60%.

When experienced employees leave, knowledge is lost.

This is a concern for retailers with a vast international store network, like designer fashion brand The Kooples, who have over 400+ stores globally and need to ensure consistency in compliance with procedures and VM guidelines.

Rather than cracking the whip from the top-down, The Kooples have chosen to provide store teams with more autonomy to ensure compliance targets are met.

Related: Why a Mobile Digital Workplace Empowers Retail Employees

To maintain standards across branches, The Kooples have equipped store teams with software which enables them to receive VM guidelines directly to their mobile devices.

After following task instructions, store employees take a photo using the mobile device and send it to HQ for approval. HQ can provide feedback and annotate the photo to highlight any issues, giving teams a clear picture of what is expected. 

As a result, VM compliance across the entire network has doubled and more than 90% of VM updates are executed in under 48 hours. 

Using the same software, store teams can send maintenance requests or flag up defective products directly to the quality team, rather than emailing back and forth. Maintenance requests are now responded to and dealt with more quickly, and there has been a 50% reduction in defective products within six months.

Read more: The Kooples nominated for RTIH Retail Innovation Awards


Using AI to Empower Store Teams 

AI-based analysis is widely considered to be a senior management responsibility, but this outlook limits the potential of how innovatively AI can be used to boost sales. 

Putting AI in the hands of frontline teams makes it possible to analyze sales data in real time from every store and every product and identify patterns.

This means that the sales behaviour of specific products can be tracked and it’s easier to spot issues or anomalies as they happen.

For example, if a product is not selling as well in one particular store compared to other stores and/or online, AI can spot this pattern and generate targeted trainings for sales associates on how to upsell it, or notifications for store managers can check it against planograms.

AI sales notificationThis gives store teams the power to proactively contribute to improving product sales, rather than relying on time-strapped regional and HQ teams to spot these difficult to find patterns. 

AI has many other innovative uses in retail - for example, streamlining field and store operations when checking product placement.

A tool like YOOBIC allows teams to take pictures of shelves and image recognition technology automatically recognizes and categorizes the products in view. Automating this with AI saves field teams hours of time they'd be spending on manual counting and checking. Using AI in this way enables brands accelerate and streamline retail operations by helping field teams work at max efficiency. 

AI can also be used in frontline team training to personalize learning for each employee, virtually coach learners and identify and address skills and knowledge gaps. 

Related: How to Use AI in Frontline Employee Training


300+ retailers like Peloton, The Kooples, Lacoste, Vans and Boots are using YOOBIC's mobile digital workplace to put their frontline teams at the forefront of innovation. 

See for yourself!