As digital transformation sweeps over the retail industry, many have worried that this technological change would pave the way for increased automation and industry-wide layoffs, and all while ecommerce increases its share of the consumer spending market.

But at the National Retail Federation’s annual conference last month, the opposite trend was seen. Although some retailers are closing dozens of stores and even filing for bankruptcy, others are committed to deepening their investment into human store associates.

According to the Chicago Tribune, more retailers are turning their focus toward increasing the value of their store associates by improving recruitment and training while reducing turnover. As part of that industry-wide goal, the NRF Foundation has launched a retail training and credential program geared toward helping associates at the entry level.

Part of that training will also help retailers train workers on new technologies, making it easier for stores to launch clienteling solutions like Concierge.

Working Toward A Blended Experience

Retailers recognize that brick-and-mortar stores can leverage certain advantages over online retailers. The challenge, in many cases, is bringing in facets of that online experience to enliven the experience of shopping in stores.

Technology is central to those experiences, and everything from iPads to virtual reality are enabling this transformation to take place. But with this increased technology comes new challenges. Professionals with a strong background in these technologies may not consider retail as their first option for employment, especially if they don’t associate retail with digital innovation.

Improved recruiting strategies can open the door to more tech-proficient employees. But effective training can also turn passionate retail professionals into tech-savvy associates in their own right. Through a combination of training and investment into human capital, retailers can improve their in-store experiences in several ways at once.

The end result is knowledgeable workers who love their jobs and understand their role in building a rewarding retail experience.