How retailers in Bhutan can boost their retail business

Bhutan is a unique country both culturally and environmentally. Perched high in the Himalayas, it is the world’s last remaining Buddhist Kingdom. It has developed the philosophy of Gross National Happiness; where development is measured using a holistic approach of well-being, not just based on gross domestic product.

Major sources of income for the kingdom are tourism, hydroelectric power and agriculture. Rice is the main staple crop and is grown by about 60 per cent of rural households. Over 500 varieties of local rice have been collected and catalogued. 
Major Cities in Bhutan:

  • Paro
  • Thimphu
  • Punakha
  • Tsirang
  • Phuntsholing
  • Pemagatshel
  • Sarpang
  • Wangdue Phodrang
  • Samdrup Jongkhar
  • Samtse
  • Jakar

Happy employees lead to helpful stores associates, which results in happy customers.
Bhutan has developed the philosophy of Gross National Happiness. This philosophy can be transformative store associates into brand ambassadors and it is multi-faceted, the concept in retail arena is straightforward: give store associates the right tools and information to become invaluable to shoppers.

A study revealed that most associates feel limited in their assistive capabilities—they don’t feel equipped to help shoppers find items, access customer information or have instant access to product details. But associates empowered with mobile technologies, like barcode scanner-equipped handheld computers or enterprise-grade tablets, reported that they had a positive impact on shoppers. This means they could fulfill their roles as brand ambassadors.

These technologies allow them to scan item barcodes for price checks, inventory levels and product lookups for other options that may not be available in-store or access customer information for any available promotions. This exclusive product knowledge encourages shopper engagement with your ambassadors and gives you a valuable touchpoint on the consumers’ buying journey.

Most shopping still happens in-store rather than online, but it is clear that online shopping is significant growth engine, so stores need to do more to drive footfall. Respondents to a recent study said the top two factors that get them to spend more time in brick-and-mortar stores are product availability and helpful store associates. Further, according to a report by Euromonitor, 83 percent of goods purchased globally in 2022 will still be bought in-store.

This is a challenge for retailers. It is no longer enough to elevate employees’ profile to the “associate” level. Retailers in Bhutan need their front-line team members – the people who are interacting with customers every day in their stores – to evolve into highly-engaged brand ambassadors. Consequently, technology is certainly imperative for retailers to create more novel and meaningful ways to stay connected with their customers.

Just remember that equipping employees with technology can extend the reach of their effectiveness—and ultimately increase customer satisfaction and retail sales. But if the technology is not easy to use, stores associates may fail to prove their value to shoppers. Any technology used for inventory management, online customer service or point-of-sale (POS) transactions must be intuitive.

Store associates and/or shoppers in Bhutan must be able to understand the technology in less than 5 minutes. That is the only way to create a frictionless experience and ensure brand ambassadors can fulfill their mission: to improve the shopper experience and make employees even more valuable than shoppers’ “smart” phones.

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