The e-commerce boom of the last two decades has seen “etailers” explode onto the scene. Unicorns like Asos, Net-A-Porter and Amazon succeed by offering first-class customer service, same-day delivery, and the ease of online, cross-platform shopping with the click of a button. Yet, a stark truth has emerged. Online customer service is reaching a saturation point.

Missguided, a UK-based fashion etailer founded in 2008, is planning an aggressive strategy to open bricks and mortar stores in the UK. As exceptional, online experiences become the ubiquitous norm, brands are eyeing physical stores as the next ground to stake their claim (a theme echoed by Amazon’s CEO Jim Bezos last week).

The question remains: how can Missguided attract and retain the right talent to man these new outposts?

Forget expensive recruiters and external job boards, if Missguided follows the steps below it can attract the right talent in a short space of time and substantially reduce cost to hire.

The Challenge: Maintaining Brand Identity

Opening physical stores unlocks a world of new challenges. Think about it: this is the first time that Missguided’s brand identity will be intrinsically linked to the effectiveness of its in-store staff. As such, it’s crucial that new hires amplify existing brand attributes.

Step 1: Persona Mapping

Missguided’s first step should be to clarify the behavioural identity of its brand. Persona Mapping and Empathy Mapping help make pertinent the key target audiences that engage with a brand. This process reveals the likes, dislikes and motivations that spur brand engagement. For Missguided, this step can help shed light on how human behaviour will need to work in store, by benchmarking it against what works for their existing digital service.

Key Takeaway: Missguided needs to understand the values, identities and motivations of its core consumers and candidates. By doing so, the brand can pinpoint bespoke character traits in potential hires that will best serve the needs and wants of its customer base.

Step 2: Employer Brand (EVP)

Nearly every brand has an existing EVP, but very few understand how to make them come alive. Missguided should use the power of storytelling to showcase their brand values and attributes. These can be integrated onto an interactive careers website that (surprise!) is aimed at the personas identified in step one.

Key Takeaway: Storytelling makes an EVP come to life and helps potential hires get to grips with who you are and what you stand for. Missguided needs to mould their EVP to match the outcome of target personas, which, in turn, naturally attracts the right talent.

Step 3: Talent Attraction

The next phase in the process incorporates elements of digital marketing – SEO, paid search and content marketing. Missguided’s careers website should operate as an engaging content hub that sparks candidate interest and curiosity. To attract talent, brands need to showcase their core values and be honest and upfront about what it’s like to work for them. Highlight key benefits that speak to the personas identified in step one. Missguided’s website must be efficient and effective; candidates will expect the same level of intuitive experiences as when buying something on the site.

Key Takeaway: Attract the best talent by populating yourself in the space where your ideal candidates ‘hang out.’ Persona Mapping has shown you what motivates and excites star candidates – now it’s Missguided’s job to show why their roles are perfectly suited for them.

Step 4: Candidate Experience

Candidate Experience Mapping is a lifesaver for brands, and Missguided would undoubtedly reap instant rewards. In digital marketing, we’ve been walking in the shoes of the consumer path-to-purchase for decades. Yet, hardly any companies walk in the candidate’s shoes from initial brand contact through to final on-boarding process. Missguided needs to ask: “What does this experience feel like?” “How do we treat people throughout the candidate journey?”

Our candidate experience work with Virgin Media helped their HR department save £4.4m in annual lost revenue! Don’t underestimate the value of a strong candidate experience on ROI and the bottom line. This means investing time to foster a deeper understanding of the entire end-to-end process. Candidate experience mapping can be broken down into a string of moments; for example*:

         · Moment 1: A candidate stumbles across Missguided’s careers content hub and reads an article that speaks to their interests.

         · Moment 2: The candidate begins their online application – is it clear, easy to use and intuitive?

         · Moment 3: The candidate arrives for an interview – are they welcomed? Is there room for them in the parking lot? Do they feel comfortable? Are they given a fair, honest and purpose-driven interview?

         · Moment 4: Missguided welcomes new recruits and outlines clear roles, responsibilities and paths to progression. The retailer also offers feedback to unsuccessful candidates, encouraging them to apply again in the future, and even offers to help find them other employment.

*Shortened for sake of brevity.

Key Takeaway: Missguided needs to analyse existing candidate experience to find the weak points and create ‘moments of magic’ that inspire and excite candidates. Treat the candidate the same way you would a customer and see how many stand-out candidates scramble to apply.

The Outcome of Smart Recruitment

Following a smart, bespoke recruitment strategy will be pivotal for the success or failure of etailers like Missguided, as they attempt to bridge the divide and become retailers in their own right. For Missguided, bricks-and-mortar stores represent a complete 180-degree shift. New hires will place people front and centre over tech. Of course, this makes the hiring process even more crucial.

Smiling, friendly faces that work efficiently alongside in-store tech could be a bonus to brand image. However, if you walk into a Missguided store, how does your experience change? If you have to wait in line for ages or if employees are inefficient and uneducated, brand identity could be affected.

These four steps emphatically reduce cost to hire, attract ideal target candidates, ensure consistency of brand image and keep staff motivated to perform at their optimum level. When the process is aligned, staff and strategy can work together to deliver what matters most: an exceptional customer experience that ensures shoppers come back time and time again.

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