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Karen Edbrooke, founder of lingerie outlet Big Girls. Karen Edbrooke, founder of lingerie outlet Big Girls. Featured
03 July 2020 Posted by 


Retail workers must be tech savvy
RETAIL job skills have changed forever during the Covid-19 pandemic with workers now required to have considerable tech skills on top of the ability to sell according to a business leader.
Karen Edbrooke, founder of lingerie outlet ‘Big Girls’, said the future of retail had changed dramatically and inevitably because of the lockdown’s forced switch to online sales.
“We have discovered that retail jobs now require significant tech skills above most other abilities,” Ms Edbrooke said.    
“With social distancing restrictions in place, Covid-19 has pushed many Australian businesses into the world of e-commerce. And, people are shopping online more than ever.
Ms Edbrooke said her new ideal retail worker must have:
Strong online communication skills.
Excellent typing skills.
Sound written English.
Excellent tech skills.
In depth knowledge of how to use social media.
The ability to use online chat.
Ms Edbrooke’s ideal employee must be IT literate, tech savvy, know how to engage with customers via Skype and other online platforms, have an outstanding understanding of social media, have an excellent typing speed, great written skills and understand how to produce video content that stands out in the competitive retail market. 
In addition, she believes staff members with great online communications skills are essential for helping customers navigate this new world of e-commerce these skills will be desirable for most retailers moving forward.
“Our online sales have grown by over 50% during isolation – these numbers really surprised us! We have worked incredibly hard to increase our online services, support and marketing so that we can provide lingerie to women all over the country,” she said.
“We’ve ramped up our virtual bra fittings which are now delivered over extended hours via Skype and Facetime. Fitting sessions are taking longer as staff now also showcase styles and different products as part of the process.
“Our staff need to be able to assist customers with their technology needs to ensure they are able to undertake the virtual sessions with ease.  Some of our customers are not that technology savvy and need help to work things out. 
“We have increased our campaigns and communications via social media.  We have also introduced live streamed fashion parades and product forums to enable our customers to immerse themselves in our virtual showroom from the comfort of their homes. Our live chat service has increased by over 100%.
Big Girls is the country’s leading independent online retailer of lingerie and swimwear for women of all sizes. 
Founded by Ms Edbrooke 28 years ago after she sustained serious injuries in a car accident and decided to take her career in a new direction, the company has evolved from a small shop to a huge operation that sees products shipped to every corner of the country as well as overseas.
“Due to the recent growth of online sales, we have employed 15 new staff members,” Ms Edbrooke said.
“Our expansion plans had been in place for a while, however COVID-19 really accelerated this process. As a team, we realised that our online services and offerings were more important than ever in this heightened time of worry and isolation. We are so thrilled that we went ahead with the expansion and will not be looking back.”
The company is also one of the country's biggest retail innovators, offering virtual fittings and its latest innovation, Big Girls TV. 
Big Girls TV is an online lingerie show for plus size and curvy women delivered via the internet.  Shows include the live streaming of lingerie fashion parades and other informational segments using real life everyday Australian women as models and the inclusion of a presenter who comperes the segments and responds to questions real time sent in from viewers during the course of the show.


Michael Walls
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