Although the quality of your in-store experience depends on many variables, there are two powerful areas we firmly suggest you emphasize.
Hire nice people
The first impression a customer gets as they walk through your door comes from your sales associates. Eye contact and basic, friendly greetings go a long way to kicking off a positive in-store experience and building rapport with the customer. I’m astounded at how many retailer (especially apparel stores) completely fail this seemingly simple step.
I was shopping in Scottsdale, AZ a few weeks ago and spotted a store carrying one of my favorite brands. Two associates were working but neither one acknowledged me while I browsed for 15 minutes; it was a pretty small store making it even more appalling. Will I ever set foot in one of their stores again? Nope!
If your employees are disengaged or, even worse, outright rude, it creates a negative first impression that is hard to bounce back from and will consequently leads to lost sales.
If your employees are disengaged or, even worse, outright rude, it creates a negative first impression that is hard to bounce back from and will consequently lead to lost sales.
When employees can be seen standing around talking to each other, checking Facebook, or playing invisible, customers know it.
Training your sales people to engage and treat customers well will set you apart from stores that don’t. Customers are far more likely to purchase from someone they both trust and like. Make a point of hiring people who are passionate about your brand and products. You’ll have a store full of engaged brand ambassadors rather than a store staffed by aloof sales associates who would rather be anywhere else. Set an unrelenting expectation that customers are greeted (even with just a smile) within 30 seconds of entering the store. It should become part of your company’s culture.
Arm the nice people with technology
Historically, the retail sales role was focused only on selling what was in the store. However, today’s sales associates must sell and have knowledge of the entire product line, across all channels, as well as create a personalized and memorable experience. To make this possible, retailers must provide associates with access to mobile technology; arming them with information while also enabling them to be active and accessible on the store floor.
Recently, while shopping at a Nike location, I was very impressed with the friendliness and knowledge of our store associate as well as the in-store technology. My fiancé was looking for runners and picked out about four or five different pairs. In real time, using a mobile POS, the associate could tell if the right size was in stock or not. Once he found a pair he liked, she checked us out in a matter of minutes on her mobile POS, and we were on our way. Friendly service and no wait? This almost never happens! Needless to say, we wouldn’t hesitate to return.
Providing employees with the proper technology enhances the in-store experience tremendously. Associates can spend more time with customers and add value when they can look up product information on the spot. Overall, the increased amount of attention sales associates can offer customers, paired with instant access to information that helps inform customers as well as facilitate a smooth transaction, makes their shopping experience easier, quicker, and more enjoyable. If you don’t yet have mobile POS within your store or at least a plan to do so, what are you waiting for? Better in-store experiences await.
Motivate store associates to become brand ambassadors by arming them with the right technology solutions. Discover four different technologies that help associates stay more informed and create better customer experiences in our whitepaper, titled: Empowering Sales Associates to Become Brand Ambassadors.