Our partners ask us regularly whether they should invest in digital channels to engage consumers and instore associates. Our answer is always a resounding – CAN YOU AFFORD NOT TO INVEST IN DIGITAL ?

@25_8Info we have been digital converts for a long time. Whilst we will always believe that there is no substitute for face to face communication we also know that digital is a very useful second. As we all know getting face to face takes time and costs money. Having managed 1900 retail store visits in Q4 of 2016 we understand the challenges that can cause a retailer and have total empathy for the instore colleagues when they are busy trying to manage customers and general tasks in store.

Several sources tell us that over 45% of retailer’s store staff are under the age of 40 so by definition digitally savvy. In 2015 Essential Retail highlighted the government’s UK Commission for Employment and Skills concerns in this great piece https://www.essentialretail.com/in-store-ops/article/55ae0b7e18b04-new-report-shines-spotlight-on-retails-digital-skills-gap

So, we are not sure the question is should we invest in digital the question is more how do we invest in digital?

Let’s look at what the education sector are doing as they face the same challenges. Blended learning is being seen as a significant development in the success rates of students.

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A combination of material being delivered face to face ( classroom ) , independent learning ( study time) and now online delivery is seen as the 3rd strand of a more complete methodology.

There are many platforms offering digital routes to teams in store and all at different pricing levels. Some platforms already exist and we work hard with our partners to maximise the opportunities that exist using Social Media and Internal Intranet.

Top 5 Free Options

Use Whatsapp to communicate with your teams. Setting up Whatsapp groups to circulate and exchange information is a free and easy method to use. You can set up user groups by store, regionally and nationally.

Build community spirit on Facebook. A picture paints a thousand words and as such you are able to put engaging material onto a platform that your teams are using every day whether they are in store, at home or socialising with friends

Use Twitter but with due care and attention. Twitter is a more open platform so make sure you control the content output very carefully using someone who understand social media etiquette.

We can’t ignore Instagram either. Everyone loves a nice picture of their dog or their lunch, right? Posting the right content about brands and subtle motivational messages are another way of keeping your teams engaged

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By using your company’s internal Intranet, you can drive some really engaging content to a targeted audience in a very targeted way.  Everyone is raving about how gamification is changing the way people are being trained and educated and we are certainly converts of the methodology

Gamification – dictionary meaningthe application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.

We think Dealerscope’s blog on the use of Gamification is a great summary of how it works https://www.dealerscope.com/partner/gamification-make-financing-fun/

So on returning to the original question we posed of Are digital natives making or breaking you financially ? the truth of the matter is they can do both and it’s up to us to ensure they help build our brands and build our sales. Understanding your teams and working out a strategy that enables you to communicate with them in an engaging way is the crucial question.

One of the hidden benefits of digital that not many people talk about is that it’s interactive and a two-way process. Use digital to get feedback from your teams, incentivise and encourage them to feedback on the content your using for them.

In our opinion digital has to be part of your communications to people that matter. Consumers, store staff and in field teams can all be developed into evangelists of your brand given the right reasons and material.

Feel free to contact us to book your free consultancy session to discuss your digital communications strategy. Please call Danny Coe on 07411 462069 or danny.c@25-8.solutions