3 Things Store Associates Need to Survive the 2020 Holiday Season

Dec 1, 2020 11:54:31 AM

Training & learning

Even when there isn’t a global pandemic happening, retail employees are the unsung heroes of the holiday season.

They help stressed-out customers find the perfect gift and put up with hearing Mariah Carey 26 times a day while the rest of us cozy up at home with mulled wine and a box of chocolates.

They’re also crucial to your brand’s success over the holiday season,  now more than ever. 

Will your shoppers be drawn into your stores and find that special something for everyone on their list, plus a few things for themselves? (We all do this, let’s not lie to ourselves.)

Or will they be hurrying out because the store didn’t have enough hand sanitizer at the door, and that perfect gift for Mom was out of stock anyway? Your store teams will decide.

Here’s how to help motivate your stores to make this holiday season a success despite the odds, and keep their sanity while doing it.

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1. Set clear instructions and objectives

Retail employees and managers can’t be successful if they aren’t sure what success means to them. How is success defined for each employee? What are the key performance indicators for each store?

Every employee has a part to play in how the store looks and how shoppers experience your brand. The clearer these responsibilities are from the outset, the more stress-free everyone’s days will be.

Particularly this year, with the extra workload brought about by COVID-19 and the very specific and ever-changing rules that go along with it, your store employees simply don’t have the time to try and decipher vague instructions. Make things clear and simple from the outset, and they can get on with making the holiday shopping experience a pleasant one for your customers.

Top tip: Digitizing task instructions can help retailers set clear objectives for store teams that take the guesswork out of store operations.


2. Facilitate communication and the sharing of best practices

So we’ve established that instructions need to be communicated clearly, and that each employee needs to be aware of what’s expected of them at all times.

If problems do arise, feedback needs to be quick and concise. Instead of spending hours on the phone with district managers, retail employees should be helping shoppers find everything they need.

It’s also more important this year, with foot traffic significantly decreased, for store associates to spend time with customers to increase conversions. That means the less time spent on laborious administrative tasks, the better.

Nobody likes to feel alone during the holidays, especially not this year. Sharing best practices between stores and HQ creates an atmosphere of support and teamwork at a time when it’s needed more than ever.

Top tip: Having a dedicated space for internal communications - where employees can share their knowledge and experiences, and where HQ can send out company-wide messages to keep everyone on the same page - is the perfect way to keep up morale and ensure that your employees have all the support they need.

RELATED: Why Frontline Employees Need a Unified Platform for Training & Internal Communications


3. Spread some festive cheer by recognizing your teams’ achievements

Your retail employees spent hours before opening time assembling that fragile festive display and making the store COVID-secure. 

Don’t you owe it to them, after all that hard work and commitment, to determine how their time and effort impacted sales?

On top of all that, working in a customer-facing role during a pandemic involves a certain amount of risk - and your frontline employees deserve to be rewarded for taking that risk.

Having a comprehensive overview of store operations and tracking performance indicators means that you gain insight into what did and didn’t work for next year. 

This is also your chance to use your internal communications system not only to inform and engage, but also to celebrate.

With all this data at your disposal, you can determine which stores - or even which individual team members - are doing particularly well. Sharing their progress and achievements with the entire network gives them a boost and keeps them motivated, even during the most stressful of times.

Top tip: Use your internal communications system to celebrate your teams’ achievements and create a sense of community across your entire network.

RELATED: 3 Examples of Outstanding Internal Communications for Frontline Employees


To find out how to make this holiday season a merry one for your store teams despite all the challenges they’ve faced this year, request a free personalized demo below.