LONDON, UK — Despite the global interruption of retail markets, brands such as CASIO are taking steps to maintain communication with retail staff, even if they cannot actively sell in stores. With social distancing measures in place, sales reps have become immobilised as the physical points of contact between brands and retail stores, forcing brands to find other channels for communicating or go silent until movement restrictions end and shops reopen. As part of their larger digital strategy, CASIO UK adopted the digital platform Myagi as a training and communication tool in 2018 meaning they were equipped to reach staff directly even if they had to stay at home.
CASIO’s Training Manager for UK & Ireland, Warren Halliwell, found himself in home isolation for two weeks after returning from a work trip to Japan and Malaysia. Despite being at home, Halliwell was determined to continue regularly posting content: “I just thought I need to keep the engagement going.” Equipped with video footage from his trips, Warren has been able to continue creating lessons about product features, while also sharing a video series called ‘Ask Warren’ where he answers questions sent by staff via Myagi’s lesson feedback feature about CASIO and their watches.
The utility of digital tools for managing retail communications has become more apparent than ever during the COVID-19 crisis, as staff members on all sides of the industry are furloughed or limited to working from home for an undefined period. As users of Myagi have found, having a digital tool in place has meant that key communications can be delivered quickly without additional measures or resources, and brand and product training can continue even if selling cannot. This is vital in preparing retail staff for stores reopening during a precarious time where driving sell-through early will be key to recovery.
Myagi acts as the smart ‘knowledge supply chain’ that helps brands and their retail partners sell better together, by delivering accurate information to the right people, in the right places, at the right times. This system is not only offered to store staff but customer service, marketing and ops teams to support internal sales and customer service divisions. By presenting employee training, product information and brand communications in a dynamic and mobile-friendly way, Myagi facilitates ongoing engagement from users and in turn provides admins with visibility over the delivery and consumption of information.
Despite retailers being closed, CASIO saw an increase in engagement with content on Myagi, reaching over 4200 minutes of content watched on March 30th. “There’s never been any obligation for staff to go onto Myagi, so the fact they’re logging in from home is really good and we’ve had some really good feedback,” says Halliwell, “some of the feedback has been ‘This is great, when I go back I’m going to use this…’ and ‘It’s really dark times here but you’re cheering us up…’ so it’s lovely to hear that, it’s suddenly almost going beyond an educational tool.”
Even on weekends, CASIO were gaining up to a thousand minutes of content viewed per day with certain retailers—a huge positive for CASIO in terms of staying connected to channel partner’s staff throughout uncertainty. “For the first time I haven’t really been in the shoes of the retailers because they’ve all been on furlough, but I guess they’re just at home and they’re looking for entertainment. I think it’s quite smart–it shows a really good work ethic that instead of sitting there doing nothing they want to learn about the watches.” While being informative and relevant to CASIO, the entertaining nature of Halliwell’s content and the opportunity for staff to make their own contributions to ‘Ask Warren’ through the feedback feature serve to strengthen brand perceptions during a tumultuous and distracting time.
With content being published and furloughed staff looking for ways to fill their time, CASIO are gradually preparing their partners’ sales teams for the reopening of stores. By equipping them with product knowledge about upcoming releases and maintaining a positive and engaging brand image, in the early stages of retail’s reopening CASIO are bound to be distinguished from competitors who heavily relied on reps to physically deliver up-to-date information and training.
It’s important to note that laws around furlough and training are not the same in every country, but in the United Kingdom furloughed staff can and are encouraged to continue training, as long as the time spent training is covered at minimum wage by the furlough payment of 80% of their regular wage (capped at £2,500 monthly). More information on the UK government’s official guidelines surrounding furlough and training can be found here.
Though initially concerned about letting furloughed staff access Myagi, one of CASIO’s retail partners recognised the importance of ongoing product and sales training and decided to collaborate with the brand, creating a furlough package for staff so they could continue accessing CASIO training at home.
“The overarching aim is that when staff do eventually go back to stores, instead of them just having their minds numbed by Netflix for 6 weeks, they would have also learned something about CASIO. But what’s good about Myagi is the content is always there, so if they want to review it they can. We’ve got loads of really good products coming out this year, so hopefully when they get back in store, they’ll see the new product and jump into Myagi again just for a quick refresher.”
Founded in Melbourne in 2013, Myagi is the digital ‘knowledge supply chain’ platform that connects retailers to the brands they carry, allowing them to collaborate, communicate and educate along the commerce supply chain. From designers to marketing, right through to the frontline sales associate, Myagi empowers every worker with the right intel at the right time to create great customer experiences and improve sell-through. Myagi helps brands and retailers in dozens of countries over six continents.