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That which is old becomes new again

By Terry Hopsecger, Director Business Development

With retailers, consumer product companies and e-commerce platforms racing to develop the best systems to anticipate consumer needs and deliver product, they may have forgotten one thing that seems to be the next best thing in retail: the human connection.

What technology cannot fulfill are human needs that remain unmet today and will continue to evolve in the future. One thing we have all learned through our work is that as technological connections grow, so does the human need for meaningful connections.

We have all read about the “experience economy.” What people are actively seeking is intimate connections with other people and finding them in the newly-created retail spaces that attempt to provide the person with a complete experience.

We called that “customer service” in the old days. That which is old becomes new again.

In the next 10 years, specialty, high-touch, human-oriented expertise will become the key differentiator in retail. Stores are already providing smaller footprints allowing shoppers to interact with knowledgeable, highly-specialized associates. The outcome of this change will affect retail associates. They will enjoy a heightened sense of status in retail.

Retailers will be looking for people who are truly passionate about their work and whose enthusiasm is infectious. You can’t replace that with technology.

Retail will offer a wide range of people the opportunity to be genuinely effective in a respected valued occupation.

Washington Retail Association sponsors Retail Month in Washington each September. Check out the WorkSource website as this is a great site to post positions and find resumes from entry level to upper management. Think about hiring in September as that passionate, enthusiastic associate may be waiting for your call.

Let me know what you think. terry@wrasi.com.

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