Google has launched a “retail agility challenge” to test and demonstrate how existing technologies can make everyday retailing easier.
At a pop-up space in London, around 40 retailers from a variety of sectors are being taken through a series of eight tasks, which explore the challenges faced by those working in the retail sector, from the shop floor to the back office and board room.
Its ultimate aim is to demonstrate how Google’s business-focused cloud-based technologies arm Google for Work can be a partner for retailers looking at digital transformation.
The tasks demonstrate, for example, how technology can allow shop workers to develop a more consistent brand identity through online and video training, or give senior managers a clearer overview of what’s happening in stores using Google apps.
“Store workers are the ones closest to the customer, but most retailers haven’t provided them with the technology to feedback insight on a real time basis, for example if a particular handbag isn’t selling well,” explained Nina Bjornstad, country manager for UK and Ireland, Google for Work.
“It’s not focused on the technology of the future; it’s what technology is able to do now.”
The challenge highlights the benefits to retailers of using social-based apps to communicate at work, instead of email.
AllSaints has already partnered with Google for Work. Chief executive William Kim said: “We believe this is the only way to operate. In 2013 I realised I was better connected at home than at work: the social platforms I operated on at home were more connected, agile and nimble.”
Bjornstad added: “Most of the systems brands use were built in the 80s and 90s. But if you consider how the consumer base and workforce is changing - millenials don’t necessarily want to read emails: they want video, they want three text conversations going concurrently. They want to share. But when they come to work we provide a single device - email - and wonder why they don’t communicate properly.”
The challenge is about an hour long altogether, and will run until May 20.