Skip to content
Microsoft Industry Blogs – United Kingdom

Blogger Series Banner showing two women talking in a retail setting.

Don’t fear technology. Use it to help get the most from your retail team and let them understand how it can make their jobs better.

It is understandable that during a time of radical change in the industry, retail staff are keen to know the impact new technologies could have on their jobs.

Consumer habits have changed dramatically in recent years as people embrace new ways of shopping and have different expectations. This means retailers have to continually improve and differentiate their customers’ experiences.

This is bound to impact the work retail staff do and the technology they use.

As parts of the retail sector are automated, staff will be free to be more creative in their roles and spend additional time helping customers.

A female boutique retail store owner uses a surface tablet to check jeans inventory for a female customer.

AI can empower positive change

Today, retail staff need to spot gaps on shelves, update shelf-edge labels, and search the warehouse for customer requests.

If AI and technology can take over those tasks, people in retail roles will have more time to spend with customers on a one-to-one basis. This will help them to better understand their needs and give them the best possible experience.

However, simply rolling out new technology and expecting people to adapt is not realistic. It requires leadership to help teams identify new opportunities and achieve them. It takes a change of culture, led from the top.

As retailers embrace digital transformation and AI, some things will stay the same. Notably, placing customers at the centre of their business. This is likely to lead to the creation of exciting new roles.

“With technology such as AI handling the repetitive tasks, businesses can make people the face of their operations and provide real customer value”

What about a ‘chief storyteller’ welcoming consumers in to the store with on-brand messages and interesting product information. And why can’t everyone have a personal shopper?

With technology such as AI handling the repetitive in-store tasks, businesses can make people the face of their operations once again and provide real customer value.

Your people can become ambassadors for your brand. They will have information at their fingertips on everything your customers want to know, and the time for a conversation that enhances their shopping experience. These are the types of rewarding and useful jobs retailers are now looking to support.

AI can crunch big data and analyse information fast. This makes it easy for your employees to create personalised experiences for customers.

There will be plenty of job opportunities off the shop floor too. Data scientists, programmers and cybersecurity experts are highly sought-after roles.

Image showing a customer purchasing some clothes in a retail store.Brave new careers

Retail is much more than a foothold on the career ladder for many school-age students and those looking to supplement their studies with paid work.

AI will make day-to-day tasks easier to manage, giving staff the chance to work in new ways with customers in a career that they love.

It is a sector full of opportunity, and one that brings people power to the foreground, supported by technology at the core.

Find out more

Explore the latest trends in retail