Technology has changed retail and transformed customer experiences everywhere. This includes price matching, inventory and selection; plus, drone deliveries. These changes have empowered the consumer to gather information and be well equipped when walking into a store.
Sometimes you need that extra knowledge or validation on why you would want this particular item. Sales teams still play a vital role in educating and being the trusted ‘friend’ to guide customers in the right direction.
Sales associates that are true brand ambassadors can elevate and differentiate your brand significantly. People know when someone means what they’re saying, or shows enthusiasm in the product. They also know when someone doesn’t care about their needs.
Lululemon does a great job of encouraging their staff to be brand ambassadors. One method is by making it standard for them to schedule customer/staff sweat dates (workouts) in various local gyms – not just yoga. This encourages a human connection and also helps sales associates relate to customers that want to know which clothing is best for different exercises, comfort, or both. Being able to answer truthfully makes a difference.
"85% of consumers prefer to shop at physical stores, and 90% were more likely to buy when helped by a knowledgeable associate, according to the TimeTrade State of Retail 2015 survey of 1,029 consumers."
This tangible and real connection is only one step. Like a new puppy, technology adorably sneaks its way into this relationship and makes it stronger. It connects organic conversations and retail logistics into one seamless omnichannel experience.
Sales associates and technology are the BFFs that keep brick & mortar stores as the number one place to do business.
Here are four technologies that can be used to empower sales associates and keep these BFFs going strong.
Though the purchasing journey can begin elsewhere, the majority of purchases take place in a store. This is why it is important to make the final touchpoint as seamless as possible for the customer and the sales associate. Mobile point-of-sale (POS) technology is an investment worth its salt.
“Retailers that have implemented mobile POS are industry leaders such as Urban Outfitters, Home Depot, Starbucks and Nordstrom.”
Today, a mobile POS should be flexible and able to handle a buy online/pickup in-store transaction, or set up buy in-store/ship anywhere transactions. Having a full range of POS functions on mobile devices allows the sales team to handle all unexpected bumps. Allowing them to handle these interactions smoothly and quickly, encourages an easy checkout. It’s when you cannot do this, that customers take notice, and will not forget.
Interactive Store Technology
Making your store an interactive environment brings many of the online advantages into your space. These technologies include digital signage, interactive touchscreens, kiosks, etc.
Customers have the chance to explore products on their own, and begin thinking of questions as they explore. Thus, helping a sales associate develop a deeper understanding of their need, and helping them with a proper recommendation that further strengthens the relationship between brand and customer.
“If retailers can get product information right — and present it in more interesting ways than a printed shelf label — they have a better chance of getting shoppers off the couch, into their stores and buying from them.”- Brian Kilcourse and Steve Rowen, Commerce Convergence: Closing the Gap Between Online and In-Store, Retail Systems Research.
Learn about two more technologies that can help associates stay more informed and create better customer experiences in our whitepaper, titled: Empowering Sales Associates to Become Brand Ambassadors.