The Evolution of Store Assistance
94% of all retail transactions are still taking place in brick and mortar stores. Yes, instead of replacing the brick and mortar store, the recent technological landscape changes are not leaving the high street behind. Inclusion of technology on the shop floor is more than just an aesthetic face lift – it is the technological improvement and advancement of all aspects of the physical store.
A prime example is the human element. Store associates can provide human soft skills but naturally lack the ability to recall and deploy data at the rate or volume of cloud supported retail technologies. Hence the introduction of retail store apps and devices, portable devices that are a portal to the resources of the company in the palm of the smiling sales associate. Let us think of profound ways that equipping staff with retail technology can give them this advantage:
In the past the sales associate was the king or queen of the shop floor. However, with smartphones in their hands, the moment a customer is interested in a product, she now has access to potentially vast amounts of data including product specifications, pricing and even customer reviews. It is imperative that retailers empower sales associates with the necessary tools to access this data in store, fast and seamless. Empowering the sales assistant with devices and store applications means that they will now have access to accurate data from the retailer at all times regarding everything from the range of items available to the materials the product is made from.
The words “Let me go check on that” can be described as the last dying words of the sale. This crucial break in dialogue and contact leaves the customer killing time in the store and many cases kills their interest. The solution is to avoid this break in dialogue and contact by ensuring that all stock data is available to the sales associate at all times, everywhere. The sales person who knows the store stock, can access warehouse stock and can even check stock in other stores without breaking conversation is given far greater chance of completing sales and retaining customers.
Large stock ranges require sales associates to be constantly re-educated regarding not only stock availability but also the connection between stock items. It is likely incalculable how many sales opportunities are lost due to sales assistant’s lack of awareness of items that are closely connected to the purchased item that consumers would snap up if informed of them. The level of training and education required to give sales associates this edge would be inutile even in the context of a retailer with a small range. Assisted sales technology provides this data instantly and can even suggest, basic on customer data, which up or cross-sale items should be introduced to the consumer based on availability information.
One thing that is more than valuable than anything for the retailer is the customer data. Store associates who have access to customer data such as previous purchases, preferences and loyalty info can also provide personalized offers to those customers who are willing to get that kind of service. Being able to get personalized offers is one of the top things that the customers nowadays are expecting from their favorite brands.
The true benefit of empowering sales associates lies in their instant access to this vast information.
Reports indicate that the equipping of sales associates with mobile tools is seen as amongst the three most necessary innovations by retailers in 2018 with 51% stating its vitality.
Let not be deceived, this is not a slow movement to staff-less stores. Technology is not replacing the store associates, but empowering them. Instant messaging empowers them to remain in the store interfacing with consumers without the need to physically consult other sources, stock data means they do not have to physically check a stock room, product knowledge means that they can confidentially relate all details of the purchase item as if they own it themselves. All without interrupting their friendly conversation.
Here at Shopi we are the designer and supplier of such retail solutions for retail touch points including point of sale. You may wish to take time to look at Shopiassist that is empowering sales associates with its easy to use interface and many modular functions.