The staff shop is still one of the most popular distribution channels. But, for remote teams like national sales people, access is limited. In a 2018 Future Workforce Report, 38% of hiring managers predicted that their teams would work remotely in the next 10 years and with Covid-19, home working has accelerated faster than many would have anticipated.
One alternative is an eCommerce shop for staff. This gives equal access to employees regardless of location and gives the business total control whilst generating user data. The main downside, however, is cost of distribution and delay in getting the product into the hands of the consumer, your employee.
A different approach is to utilise existing distribution channels and enable team members to collect product in their usual retail routine. Using the same promotion channels that they use to influence shoppers to choose their products, brands are designing programs for staff using a mix of pre-discount coupons and post-purchase reimbursement mechanics.
A European multinational food manufacturer started using secure printed coupons for their UK employees in 2017. Employees received a printed booklet each quarter that could be used in their preferred retailer. This was popular for a while, but whilst our client could tell which retail partners staff were using, they didn’t know what products they were engaging with. There was also wastage in creating and distributing coupons that didn’t get used.
In 2019, we worked with this food manufacturer to switch the mechanic to a simple reimbursement model. Team members buy the product when and where they choose, visit a branded webpage and upload proof of purchase (similar to an expenses process) that is checked and validated by our teams. It’s simple for them, retailers get footfall and sales without operational effort and our client’s payroll receives the data to maintain its records.
This is one example of this approach. Other manufacturers are designing programs against specific requirements resulting in different executions along a single theme.
If you’re launching a benefits program or looking for ways to improve an existing scheme consider what the most important objectives are for you such as employee experience or cost to serve. One approach may be better for you, or you may combine approaches to reflect the different working patterns of different teams. Whatever you choose there are options to help answer your challenge.