Upskilling staff with tablets

December 24, 2019

Australia’s retail sector is among the country’s major employers. It also features one of the highest annual turnover rates. According to research, a clear way of curbing that attrition is through employee training and by allowing staff to feel valued.

For large retailers that’s where tablets and iPads are coming into play, offering the opportunity to upskill staff while changing their perception of a role in retail and improving the customer experience.

Retail turnover

upskilling staff with tablets retail turnover

The Australian retail sector is worth a whopping $325 billion annually, employing over 1.3 million people, according to the Australian Retailers Association.

Recently, however, Sidekicker revealed its high rate of employee churn.

“Against a national average of just 16 per cent, the turnover of retail employees sits around 41 per cent every year. Made up of 1.3 million workers staff churn is sitting at almost 533,000 roles and sees retailers looking to replace a worker every nine months on average,” they noted.

“When losing just one junior casual can cost up to $4000 in lost productivity (with tasks like sorting through resumes, reviewing job roles, onboarding, etc) churn starts to chew into retailers’ bottom line.”

Meanwhile, a survey by the Hay Group found four key areas which retail could focus on to reduce this attrition, including career pathing, training, better communications on the employee value proposition, and compensation packages.

Which is why major retailers are turning their attention to tech.

Apple and employee tablets

Shopify explains Apple was one of the first retailers to offer every employee a mobile device or tablet to use as part their customer service role.

And although this may seem like a logical move for a brand that creates the most popular tablet in the world in the form of the iPad, it also quickly revealed a series of major benefits, including allowing employees to feel autonomous, valued and empowered.

“They don’t feel like they’re just somebody over here working with customers,” Apple’s retail chief Angela Ahrendts told Fortune.

“I don’t see them as retail employees. I see them as executives in the company who are touching the customers with the products…”

Apple is now far from the only retailer arming their staff with tablets. Walk into any Telstra store and an associate with a tablet will also greet you.

In the process these companies are among the many retailers enjoying major advantages in staff knowledge and increased skills.

Staff knowledge

upskilling staff with tablets staff knowledge

Whether it’s a tablet in their hands or one which they can turn to easily, tablets allow store associates to access information when they need it.

They can search product lines, check stock levels, see the same social media information a customer does and quickly have the information they need to make a sale at their fingertips.

In fact, late last year Zebra Technologies conducted a survey that found 66 per cent of retail associates believed if they were equipped with tablets, they could provide better customer service and improve the shopping experience.

“Store associates cite frustration with their inability to assist customers as 42 per cent find they have little time to help shoppers because of pressure to get other tasks completed,” the survey noted.

The survey also revealed 28 per cent of retail staff claim it’s difficult to get information to help shoppers.

Mobile tablets can help ease that burden. In the hands of a sales associate, they allow them to answer questions quickly.

Mobile POS, utilising tablets and tablet holders, allows staff to process sales on the floor, and self-service checkouts comprising an iPad, iPad holder, barcode scanner and card reader, reduce the number of staff required for sales transactions. Meanwhile, information kiosks and digital product catalogues assist with simple and repetitive queries from the consumer.

What’s more these are easy and affordable tools for retailers to deploy, requiring just a small investment in hardware like a tablet, tablet holder, and stand.


Behind the scenes, tablets can also be invaluable when it comes to training. They allow staff to walk through the common retail scenarios, hone their knowledge of store policy, products and procedures, and become fully acquainted with all the features of the POS.

Training using technology can supplement face-to-face training, allowing staff to learn at their own pace, take quizzes and virtually experience the process involved.

US telco Verizon has long been a proponent of training via technology including tablets, and its employee training program has ranked as the top one in the US as a result.

They note: “The company uses videos, podcasts, blogs, and its enterprise learning-management system to deliver the right information to the right people at the right time, no matter where they are. The company offers more than 14,000 courses in a variety of formats, from classroom to self-directed learning online.”

You can learn more about our range of secure iPad stands and tablet stands for retail here.

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