Employee turnover in the grocery segment has long been a major concern, especially given the strong link between employee retention and customer satisfaction. Traditional grocers have tried to reduce hiring and retention challenges by offering flexible hours to attract candidates who are new to the workforce or those seeking steady but part-time employment.
Innovative retailers such as Whole Foods Market and Wegman’s are increasing retention by offering higher wages, insurance benefits for part-timers and increased advancement opportunities. Other retailers, including Ahold Delhaize USA brands, Giant/Martin’s and Stop & Shop, are leveraging digital technologies to address the most mundane grocery store tasks, such as patrolling store aisles for potential hazards, so employees can focus on more customer-facing activities.
Savvy grocers are adding digital, omnichannel and customer experience positions to drive innovation, customer satisfaction and ultimately employee retention at all levels. These emerging yet vital roles require cross-functional skills and close collaboration with senior management, operations, merchandising, marketing, IT and supply chain teams.
To succeed, these new employees must also have real-time access to accurate data about everything from shelf inventory and planogram compliance to hazard detection, reporting and auditing. That’s where autonomous robots come in. They can continuously gather insights and updates to share with a team of store strategists looking for new ways to serve and delight customers.
The ability to improve the customer experience is influenced greatly by increased operational efficiency, which is where autonomous robots really shine. As they traverse store aisles alongside customers, multipurpose robots can quickly identify missing, mispriced or misplaced items while keeping a watchful eye on store safety. Ensuring that customers can find what they’re looking for in the right place and at the right price is a big step in the right direction. Moreover, the opportunity to perform analytics on individual store performance and customer buying preferences will help grocers adjust inventory to keep pace with specific seasonal, regional and local inventory demands.
Once data collection is automated, grocers will need skilled employees with big data analytics or data science backgrounds to perform the necessary analysis, forecasts and what-if simulations to align customer needs with store inventory. Additionally, grocers need to empower store employees with the insights needed to improve customer experiences while providing a path for more direct interaction with shoppers. This might involve opportunities to make recommendations—on gourmet or specialty food items as well as perishables—which is one of the best ways to keep regular store visits part of a customer’s typical weekly routine.
New retail positions can be bolstered through a new class of robotic assistants as they free store employees to move beyond manual tasks to elevate the customer experience while improving their own job satisfaction. As a result, autonomous grocery robots are well positioned to become a grocer’s favorite new strategy for improving operational efficiency, increasing customer satisfaction along with attracting and retaining new, emerging roles for employees.
This post is sponsored by Badger Technologies