Bringing your A-Game: how to use gamification to drive store associates’ performance

 By Laszlo Csibi, Director at Inovretail

Retail can be a cut-throat business at the best of times, with store managers and head office involved in an eternal fight to boost productivity, conversion rates and chase elusive profits.

In an ideal world, frontline retail employees would be galvanised by this challenge and store teams would thrive with daily KPIs. The problem is, however, that not everyone enjoys, or performs best, in this high-pressure environment. So how can retail technology leaders help nurture, motivate, engage and improve the wellbeing of shop floor sales assistants without these staff being continually beaten up over sales targets?

More and more organisations are now discovering that the answer to this question is gamification and tech professionals are in a unique position to unlock its benefits. Gamification doesn’t need to involve expensive incentivisation or even a physical prize. What makes it so effective is the way friendly competition in the right environment can bring teams together by tapping into the individual’s psychological need for implicit rewards.

And it doesn’t necessarily matter about the size of retailer or the segment they work in as long as they all share the need to motivate colleagues to meet targets.

Once a retailer finds a game that gets salespeople excited about a goal, it can be spread throughout every level of an organisation. The recipe for effective gamification can include contests focusing on specific KPIs, public recognition, tokens or stars etc. Traditionally this could be achieved using spreadsheets and manual processes with a significant time delay between action and the production of a stat or metric. Times, however, have changed and a series of factors have now aligned to make it a particularly powerful tool for retailers.

The first factor is the rapid development of technology. By bringing the Fitbit revolution in-store, retailers can now issue employees with wearables, so they can track their progress towards key retail KPIs. Employees can act on real-time data as it is produced without having to pour over manual spreadsheets.

The second factor at play is that demographic traits make gamification more appealing to today’s retail workforce than ever before, and that situation will only increase as Millennials, and increasingly Gen Z, fill more retail roles.

Finally, with the increasing emphasis on wellbeing and mental health in the workplace. When used correctly, gamification re-channels the pressures of retail, adding elements of competitive fun, so they are made less threatening. Employees are also provided with new inspiration and given the opportunity to have their work recognised and rewarded.

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