Gen Z vs. Retail Ops… in the TikTok era

Gen Z vs. Retail Ops… in the TikTok era

Mar 8, 2023 5:53:05 PM

Employee experience

This article was written by Fabrice Haiat, CEO & Co-founder of YOOBIC.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about… TikTok. Not so much about the random memes, pranks, and challenges going viral this week. (Though they are truly fascinating.) I’m thinking, specifically, about the TikTok generation.

And how, in retail, they are fast becoming the dominant demographic on the floors, at checkouts, in fitting rooms, in customer service… This generation of frontline workers are true digital natives, surrounded by advanced technology from their earliest memories.

Once upon a time, I remember when the most advanced tech in many retail stores was the cash register — and even that was little more than a calculator with a cash drawer!

Now, everything from product design to sales projections are managed using sophisticated digital algorithms.

Inventory and supply chains are tracked with barcodes and RFID solutions.

And the customer experience has been transformed with mobile shopping apps, self-service kiosks, and so much more.

But, curiously, there is one retail experience that hasn't advanced much: The retail employee experience.

And that's a big problem for today's frontline workers. Especially, Gen Z.


The Gen Z workforce must be managed differently

In many cases, the retail employee experience remains resolutely low-tech.

This is a big problem for the growing Gen Z workforce. They don't want to read a document in the back of the store and fill out a paper. They don't want to sit a desk and struggle with clunky training software for an hour. 

Gen Z expects to be able to work smarter and learn faster — while on the move. (The #LearnOnTikTok hashtag currently has a mind-blowing 726+ billion views, if that’s any indication.)

In my work, I have the pleasure of collaborating with retail, restaurants, and hospitality leaders from around the globe to help streamline their retail ops.

My company YOOBIC helps today’s top retail businesses (like GameStop, Mattress Firm, Michaels, Boots, H&M, Forever 21, Lacoste, Francesca’s, and Peloton) transform their operations and reshape their frontline experience through our all-in-one, mobile-first solution for frontline teams.

And every single retailer leader I talk to agrees on one thing: They know they need to manage and motivate their growing Gen Z workforce differently.

Not only as a gesture towards increased staff satisfaction — but as a route to wider business success.

You already know that a digital workplace can significantly improve your operational performance and grow the store network revenue.

A Frontline Employee Experience Platform, or FEXP, is the next generation of a digital workplace.


Digital workplaces are used as a hub for real-time store communication, KPI tracking, operational and task management, and employee training. They have many use cases and multiple business benefits across departments and the organizations as a whole.

However… We both also know high tech can be a double-edge sword.

If new tech introduces too much complexity and isn’t user-friendly (like social media is) — it creates frustration and becomes counterproductive for frontline teams.

When onboarding YOOBIC customers, 80% of the time we find they are using a precarious combination of WhatsApp, Excel, and SharePoint to engage with frontline teams.

Having 1,000 stores with 20,000 employees on WhatsApp is a recipe for chaos — not even considering the security risks to the business…


But an FEXP enables staff to perform at the very peak of their ability by bringing together communications, training, and operations all in one place to create a unified, digital work environment.

We’ve created a new guide that lays out exactly what retail ops leaders need to know about frontline employee experience platforms.

You can read it right here.

Inside it you’ll find:

  • The range of use cases of an FEXP from industry leaders who have implemented one
  • How FEXP empowered retailers achieve 90+% operational compliance across the network
  • Best practices for measuring FEXP KPIs

The pandemic and economic turmoil (and… TikTok?) may have brought sweeping changes to the world of employment. But there is one thing I don’t think will ever change: A business only performs as well as its employees.

And for retail, this new era — the era of the digital workplace — is full of opportunity.

Glad we’re in this ride together.

P.S. On LinkedIn, I share ideas and insights about the future of retail. Let’s connect there.

Over 350+ global retailers like Aeropostale, Gamestop, and Mattress Firm use YOOBIC's Frontline Employee Experience Platform to empower their frontline teams to work smarter, communicate better and learn faster. And you can too!

If you have any questions or want to learn more about YOOBIC, request a meeting with one of our experts: