The Perfect Retail Storm is Coming – Are You Going to Build a Wind Fence or a Windmill?


Currently, in retail, a perfect storm is rising. It is fuelled by several phenomena coming together with a hurricane’s power. Generation Y & Z employees, the inadequacy of legacy systems, demands for new types of in-store experiences, an ever-rising threat from Amazon, Zalando, and the likes. Add to that Omni-consumers demanding seamless experiences across all touch-points and a plethora of new advanced technologies available to retailers.

The ability to change course, speed up, experiment, learn, mobilise and execute with great impact is now de facto a winning capability.

So it is not surprising that mobile employee communication and execution apps have shifted from being ‘nice-to-have to ‘must-have’. Agility is a ‘Right to play’ capability. Without the ability to reach, engage and influence the entire workforce at Snapchat speed, the organisation will be out-manoeuvred. Fast. Because slow is dead. Acceleration is the name of the game.

Unfortunately, in-store technology’s actual use leaves a lot to the imagination.

And according to a study by Zynstra, retailers are woefully under-utilising the possibilities offered, with a whopping 98% reporting a wish to transition to new technology.

The main hindrance in moving forward is an expectation that transformation and use will be too difficult.

The challenges:

  • 35% of retailers found it difficult to provide consistent in-store experiences
  • 51% of retailers reported not being able to make changes across all branches easily
  • 20% of retailers had to delay or reject a rollout of new in-store applications as a result of IT limitations
  • 35% of retailers identified the lack of local store IT skills as an issue

At the core of these numbers lie employee engagement and capabilities. As long as employees still have to juggle too many unconnected systems, get too much-uncoordinated information across email, intranets, LMS, and Facebook, it will be hard to change and deliver that coveted above-par customer experience.

Employees, especially the new generations, can be a huge lever for a fast transformation, excellent differentiating customer experiences, and profitable business. But they need to be engaged and aligned on their terms, their way. Not with decade-old systems and management paradigms.

As philosopher Kierkegaard said, “If you want to change someone, you must first meet them where they are”. That means interacting with your frontline staff through a mobile and engaging platform. It means having ONE channel for connecting, training, and tracking performance.

That is exactly why we created Atobi: Because we believe that when humans and software come together in the right constellation, magic happens. This is the central belief on which Atobi is founded. Engaging, human-centred design continues to be our guiding star when helping our customers succeed through simple and aligned execution. Through our work, we have seen how businesses juggle a plethora of systems and tools, making it difficult for them to deliver in a clear and synchronised way. Often resulting in lacking performance and disengaged employees.

We started Atobi as we believed there was a better way. We believed in making things simpler while engaging employees at the same time. That is why we have created ONE platform meeting ALL needs when interacting with employees.

So, a storm is brewing. Are you going to build a wind fence or a windmill?