Remember the days when the retail sales associate was front and centre of the customer experience? Well, those days are fast returning as the omnichannel landscape sees bricks and mortar retailers seek to play to its in-person strength.
Now the sales associate is the face of the retail brand, espousing a retailer’s commitment to stellar customer service via knowledge, insight and a customer ethos that goes above and beyond.
A new focus on sales associates
Even in an increasingly online world, the strength of bricks and mortar lies in the personal interaction it offers with a brand.
Sales associates are the cornerstone of this interaction, with their knowledge, skill, and insight often laying the foundations of the customer experience that drives brand loyalty.
As a snapshot of just how important sales associates are, a survey by Mindtree found:
But good retail service isn’t just about the type of employee you hire and the previous experience they have. It’s also about the tools they have available that empower them to do their job.
Here are five tools designed to do just that.
Mobile Point of Sale has transformed the role of sales associate, allowing them to take the register to the customer while empowering that staff member with information.
Not only can the sales associate conduct a transaction anywhere on the floor of the store, but they can also access vital data such as stock levels, complimentary products, and customer loyalty on one compact and mobile, hand-held device.
It’s no secret analytics are now crucial to all retail operations, and this data allows sales associates to better understand and anticipate trends while offering a more informed customer experience.
Data and analytics in the hands of sales associates allow them insight into what items are trending in terms of sales, how busy a store is, what products are low on stock, and which stores might have inventory elsewhere.
In the process analytics allow staff to understand what’s working and what’s not within their retail environment, so they can quickly identify areas for improvement.
As retailers look to improve the bottom line, there’s also a focus on efficiency in-store, allowing sales associates to focus on the service and experience that matters, rather than extraneous tasks.
That’s where tools that improve back of house efficiency come into their own.
Here we’re talking technology like RFID which allows for real-time inventory counting, rather than labor-intensive stocktaking, mPOS software that offers insight into item options and availability, or mobile tablets which facilitate order fulfillment.
On the subject of efficiency, the retail associate working the store floor can also be empowered to better meet the needs of the customer while catering to security through tools like smart keys.
This simple innovation sees one single key programmed to open multiple cabinets and drawers, allowing the sales associate to effortlessly access the items they need when the customer wants them to.
In the process, smart keys provide insight into items piquing customer interest, allowing retail management to better hone the customer experience.
While the sales associate’s job is to sell, the store’s is to act as an inviting product showcase that lures the customer in.
Here, sales associates can be empowered with a primed customer via interactive displays that allow customers to test and feel a product while the sales associate offers insight into its benefits and features.