The “future” of retail is a throwback to the physical store

The “future” of retail is a throwback to the physical store

As reported in a recent Retail Dive article reflecting on key takeaways from NRF’s 2020 Big Show, physical retail is experiencing a “comeback” of sorts. Though industry commentary has been refuting the “retail apocalypse” for years now, the offline channel continues to offer compelling new reasons for the importance of physical stores, including cost of customer acquisition, digital communication fatigue, and the old fashioned need for human connection.

Reduced ROI on digital customer acquisition: Direct-to-consumer (DTC) was once a low-cost model that dangled the dream of high profit margins for brands whose digital storytelling would pay off in e-commerce transactions. As more and more brands invested in digital, advertising rates on popular social platforms such as Instagram and Facebook skyrocketed, raising the cost of customer acquisition to a disproportionate level. In this context, a physical footprint is no longer looking like a high overhead cost.

Deluge of retailer brand media: Communication from even our favorite retailers is hitting a point of extreme consumer fatigue. Retail Futurist Doug Stephens spoke on Day 1 of NRF and reflected on digital advertising losing its “edge,” even as it becomes more prolific, as reported by Retail Dive. “We are swimming in a sea of media and communication from brands,” he said, and “stores are the new channel for retail.” Hearing a Futurist call stores a “new channel” brings an intriguing perspective the reintroduction of brick and mortar into the 2020 conversation.

Consumers are seeking human connection: This brings us to the enduring theme of the need for human connection, which only seems to strengthen as digital gets more pervasive. Even as the online channel expands its share of transactions, industry reports continue to reveal up to 90% of purchases in some retail categories still taking place in-store. It comes of little surprise that we’re seeing a resurgence of consumers seeking out a more personal connection with the brand, one that can’t be replicated online.

At Nudge, we believe strongly in the influence of store associates in the ongoing “human factor” of brand affinity. Read more in our Lookbook, written especially for experience-driven brands who are seeking more meaningful experiences for their customers through their physical footprint.

Foodservice safety: Five best practices for sustained knowledge retention

Foodservice safety: Five best practices for sustained knowledge retention

It’s fair to say that the foodservice industry has covered its bases when it comes to employee safety. Almost all businesses must be registered and are required to have some level of health, safety, and compliance program, usually a part of their new hire onboarding materials. These formal programs help employees identify hazards in the workplace, eliminate the potential for injuries and illness, and help limit financial losses from injured employees. From an employee standpoint, non-slip shoes have become a basic uniform requirement, safety orientations and quizzes must be completed before employees can start service, and pledges of safety are even included in most companies’ mission statements.

But let’s be real, workplace safety isn’t the most riveting topic for employees. Workplace safety might be covered off during the first three months of onboarding, but how can you tell if that information is being retained long after onboarding is completed? And in a cafe full of demanding tables, long lines, and countless promotions to remember, it’s easy to give that safety quiz a raincheck. In this post, we break down some of the most common mistakes foodservice companies are making and how our mobile solution can give your employees an advantage when it comes to retaining and drawing on that critical knowledge.

Safety isn’t the same across all roles

Generalizing workplace safety is the perfect recipe for an unprepared employee. Safety means something different for front of house employees than it does for back of house employees. A cashier is likely to be a master at keeping the cafe spotless, while a chef is a master at proper food storage. With multiple roles and responsibilities, employees become a safety expert of their own station and forget the safety standards (and potential hazards) of other workplace areas.

The solution? Targeted Nudges

Targeted Nudges are a great way to broaden employees’ existing knowledge base. A quick digestible Nudge around back of house safety best practice can go a long way for a front of house employee who finds themselves in an unsafe situation.

Your guests should feel safe, too

Guests can hear, taste and smell when the cafe’s standards are lacking. Driving a culture of safety is not only important for your associates, but for your guests as well. Often times, employees are prepared to keep their workplace safe but forget about the guest’s safety. An excellent safety culture equals great customer service, but creating a culture of safety is tricky.

The solution? Learn from your top performers.

Use Spark to understand which locations have a reputable safety culture in your organization. Gather the best tips and tricks from them and circulate to locations that perhaps need a safety culture boost.

Accidents don’t always happen in the backroom

Backroom bulletin boards can get crowded with marketing materials and schedules which means important safety numbers or corporate hotlines for emergencies can get lost. An employee can find themselves in an unsafe predicament, and without those numbers memorized they might feel helpless.

The solution? A Safety Buzz List.

Buzz lists are helpful for keeping important information top of mind. Use Buzz to host critical safety phone numbers so employees have them at their fingertips, no matter what comes their way.

Speaking up is hard

Managers have a lot on their plate and historically, it’s been their job to intervene when they see an employee behaving unsafe, leaving their staff disempowered to speak up when they see similar behavior. But when a Manager isn’t around and employees feel as though they can’t speak up, how can companies maintain a thriving culture of safety?

The solution? Empower employees with peer learning

Hand over the mic to employees and ask them how they would handle an unsafe workplace situation. Asking for their feedback through Spark proves you value their ideas, which ultimately builds up a strong safety culture.

It’s difficult for Managers to understand safety ROI

More often than not, Managers are prioritizing bundling initiatives or seasonal marketing promotions over fostering a culture of safety with their staff. The safety ROI is a bit more complex than the up-sell of a meal. And while keeping up with these initiatives is just as important, safety best practices can be overlooked and forgotten.

The solution? Sprinkle safety Nudges in your Nudge campaign.

Take some of the burdens off your Managers by sprinkling in safety Nudges during your next campaign. One safety Nudge a week as a simple reminder can go a long way, while also offloading some of the pressures Managers may feel when it comes to communicating safety.

This post is by Julia from our Customer Success team. Julia works with some of our largest foodservice clients and helps design employee programs that reinforce the most important company goals, while inspiring and engaging associates to deliver on the brand promise.

Three steps to optimizing your frontline workforce

Three steps to optimizing your frontline workforce

As the competition for talent in a tight job market intensifies, we’re hearing more and more about long-term strategies designed for optimal employee engagement and performance. At Nudge, we advocate for thinking differently about the frontline segment of your employee base, as they face unique challenges, yet hold great opportunities for employers.

Lessons from behavior science tell us that some of the most effective ways to make a meaningful connection with the frontline involve simple, positive ways of thinking about motivation, delivered through the right vehicle. In a recent webinar, we sat down with acclaimed practitioner Tim Houlihan to learn more about engaging, recognizing, and ultimately optimizing the workforce who brings your brand to life, every day.

To close the discussion, we summarized an approach for optimizing your frontline in three steps:

  1. Empower staff and drive results with effective communication
  2. Support clear and consistent communications by delivering the right information to your teams at the right time, increasing knowledge, engagement, and team morale.

  3. Build highly motivated teams by balancing intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
  4. Align performance and promote the right behaviors by recognizing and rewarding employees for their contribution to business goals.

  5. Improve customer experiences with knowledge sharing
  6. Tap into staff knowledge and insights to increase social cohesion and create empowered, knowledgeable teams ready to execute on brand promise.

      A framework built on these three objectives is a thoughtful approach to engaging with your frontline, with the added benefits of increased employee satisfaction and retention. To learn more about each component, be sure to check out the slide deck and webinar recording.

3 Nudges to boost employee engagement this season

3 Nudges to boost employee engagement this season

During the summer months, there is so much to be excited about. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the ice cream trucks are arriving, the outdoors are calling… and, of course, we’re featuring three new Nudges you can use to boost frontline engagement!

Organizations with a frontline workforce, including retail, food service, and hospitality brands, understand the importance of empowering employees to deliver a great customer experience. By consistently and effectively engaging frontline teams, brands can exceed expectations and create loyal customers for life, while also improving productivity and profitability.

So, take advantage of that surge of Vitamin D and try out some new content for your frontline communications. In this blog post, we’ll highlight some of the top new Nudge ideas from our Customer Success team and share how our customers are using them to drive engagement.



Executive AMA (“Ask Me Anything”)

Create excitement and promote transparency with an executive-sponsored Nudge campaign.

Bridging the gap between corporate headquarters and frontline teams is a critical step for improving employee engagement. Employees want to get to know executives and have the opportunity to interact with them in real-time. However, with numerous locations spread across a large geography, this is often not possible in-person.

The Executive AMA campaign allows executives to interact digitally with frontline teams and answer common questions. Whether employees are interested in learning more about a recent corporate initiative, or the executive’s favorite sports team, the Executive AMA gives brands the opportunity to create excitement and promote transparency across the business.

How it is done

Start by selecting a recognized leader in the business who is committed to participating in the campaign. Work together to plan the right format, timeline, and promotion based on the selected topic of discussion. Use Spark, the area of the Nudge App that facilitates two-way communication, to gather and prioritize questions based on employee comments and likes.



#DayInTheLife Takeover

Showcase the employee experience across the business by featuring role-specific, employee-generated content.

Want to add some variety to your frontline communications and highlight the employee experience? Look no further than the #DayInTheLife Takeover Nudge campaign. Employees today are accustomed to sharing their experiences on social media and eager to connect with their peers in different areas of the business.

With Nudge, you can embrace selfie culture by encouraging the frontline to generate role-specific content. The #DayInTheLife Takeover campaign allows employees in different functions to showcase their day-to-day experiences, which can help foster empathy and engagement amongst your workforce. Takeovers can span hours or days, and include fun content like pictures, videos, interviews and/or inspiring anecdotes.

How it is done

For each role you want to highlight, choose the right employee for the job. Frontline managers can help or you can use Nudge Analytics to identify for your most engaged or knowledgeable employees. From there, provide guidance to employees on what content they should create, and make sure to promote the takeover with the hashtag #DayInTheLife!



The Nudge is Right Game Show

Increase employee knowledge on a particular topic with a series of knowledge-testing questions in a game show format.

Sparking friendly team competitions is a highly effective way to increase frontline employee engagement. Challenges, like hosting a company-wide game show, encourage employees to learn and ask questions about the featured topic, which, in turn, help boost competence and confidence.

By hosting The Nudge is Right game show, you will be able to ask a series of knowledge-testing questions on a particular topic while sustaining the level of engagement in your Nudge program. Top-scoring participants can be entered a draw to win a prize, or even win a chance to be featured in a #DayInTheLife takeover (see what we did there)!

How it is done

Identify an upcoming initiative or objective you’d like to educate employees on, then devise a variety of game show questions that can help frontline teams get up to speed. Within the Nudge App, you’ll then be able to award points based on correct answers and direct employees to the educational resources they’ll need to get ahead of the competition.


Today’s workforce expects a seamless experience, including technology that helps them feel connected to the brand and provides clear and consistent communications. However, when it comes to creating an effective employee engagement program, technology can only get you so far. Organizations that go the extra mile to create, memorable content will be able to empower frontline teams to achieve their full potential, which creates better outcomes for both your customers and your brand. With these fresh ideas in your employee communications toolkit, there’s no doubt you’ll be able to increase employee engagement, while impacting larger business objectives, like productivity and profitability.

Three mobile campaign pillars to impact your frontline and drive performance

Three mobile campaign pillars to impact your frontline and drive performance

Brands driven by customer experience rely on their frontline staff to deliver on the heightened expectations of today’s consumers. However, when misaligned with company goals and initiatives, employees provide inconsistent levels of service and an unreliable customer experience—both costly to the business and its reputation.

At Nudge, we’re committed to keeping frontlines aligned with company goals. Working with brands in retail, foodservice, and hospitality, we build unique and impactful mobile programs delivering campaigns that iterate your goals and help towards conquering alignment, communication, and engagement challenges.

Using the following three pillars of employee campaigns—proven to influence the most important behaviors of your frontline—we help brands design campaigns that align with top company objectives.


Three mobile campaign pillars to impact your frontline


1. Cultural

Build connections with your employees through mobile content based on your brand’s mission, vision, and values, so that during every shift, staff are engaged and motivated to execute on brand promise.

Sample Cultural campaign: Drive awareness of mentorship programs and learning opportunities by using Spark to initiate conversations with frontline teams across your organization to gain ideas and feedback, while also driving awareness of talent development resources that are available.

2. Strategic

Deliver content that defines major corporate objectives and rallies frontline teams around them, enhancing the knowledge of employees, optimizing performance, and driving results.

Sample Strategic campaign: Got a loyalty program? Share call-to-actions and quizzes to test employee knowledge and reinforce its perks, keeping teams aware of new and existing benefits to use in conversations with customers and at checkout.

3. Tactical

Share targeted content on promotions, keeping staff knowledgeable and empowered to effectively execute on short-term goals and the overall customer experience.

Sample Tactical campaign: During seasonal promotions or limited offers, use Buzz to share videos on sales tactics and product information to improve the knowledge of your staff and empower them to drive a lift in sales.

Goals are more likely achieved when there is a clear and meaningful purpose to the work that your employees do every day. By utilizing a mobile program to translate and share cultural, strategic, and tactical content, you’ll be designing a high-impact communication strategy that aligns head office and employees to the company’s mission, values, and goals. The result? Empowered employees who deliver an exceptional customer experience, drive sales, and are committed to the brands they work for