Automation has a huge impact on small businesses and the workforce as a whole. But sellers are generally not worried about losing jobs through automation.
A recent report on the level of retail sales by Raydiant, a digital signage platform for businesses, found that only 12% of retailers believe that robots will take over their jobs in the coming years. In fact, only 13% of those still employed are currently concerned about job security as their employers stem from COVID 19 standstills.
Basically, these numbers indicate the importance of sales people in a retail environment. Regardless of economics and technology available, a human touch is still preferred when trying to personally close sales. Even if automation is used in other areas, sales reps believe they will still be needed to get the most out of the technology.
Raydiant CEO Bobby Marhamat said in an email to Small Business Trends: "Sales reps aren't worried about being replaced, and shouldn't be." Throughout history there has been dark headlines about how certain workers are replaced by technology, but in most situations technology is combined with human skills to create new opportunities. That is exactly what we will see here. Technology empowers sales reps to have better experiences and attract more customers. “
Raydiant's report includes responses from 500 sales people currently employed in brick-and-mortar retail stores. Some of the respondents work in large retail chains, while others work in small, independent companies.
In addition to interesting pointers to automation, the survey found that 48% of retail workers feel that their employer is taking their health extremely seriously given the COVID-19 pandemic. And 54.8% of customers believe that the facilities they shop in take their health very seriously.
While there is no denying that COVID-19 has a major impact on the retail industry, these results show that the importance of professional salespeople can be an element that continues to change as the industry changes. The pandemic could lead to more companies postponing their offers – just like many have already made adjustments due to the increasing online shopping.
But those who are after the pandemic will likely still use sales professionals to create an experience that customers will actually remember. Although a lot has been said about the death of retail and the rise of automation, the idea of creating a positive experience is always important. And individual sales people can make up a large part of it.
Marhamat says: "Before COVID, we were very vocal in our belief that brick-and-mortar retail was not dying, despite the headlines, but was simply evolving. COVID has hit the industry hard, but our belief is still strong.
Intelligent, future-oriented operators are evolving and realizing that if they want to get customers in the door, they have to offer them an experience that is worth leaving their home. Customers don't just want to buy products, they also want to make experiences.
Well-trained sales people play a vital role in creating this business experience. "
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