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Despite the overwhelming data suggesting that personalization will remain — and grow — as a necessary facet in omnichannel strategies, brands and retailers have yet to use store associates to their fullest potential. A mobile app platform geared toward store associates, Salesfloor has released the results of its latest research, featured in its report “The Evolving Customer: Connecting Today’s Shoppers with Store Associates.”

“Sales associates are the driving force behind the personalized service shoppers receive in store to encourage purchases,” said Oscar Sachs, chief executive officer and cofounder of Salesfloor. “As the needs of the omnichannel shopper continues to evolve across channels, it’s important that retailers service them properly both online and in-store using their preferred method of communication. This starts with equipping sales associates with tools and technology to engage shoppers outside of the store floor.”

Retailers and brands are leaving money on the digital table. According to a previous study conducted by Salesfloor, “one in four associates said they are not properly equipped with the right digital tools and technology to do their jobs as online shopping evolves.”

The research found that consumers tend to be more engaged within a physical store. “Nine out of 10 shoppers interact with retail store associates when in-store. Four out of 10 shoppers interact with associates online,” the report said. Store associates are on the front lines with shoppers, necessitating technology that maintain and builds relationships with consumers to contribute to brand loyalty — and revenue growth.

“Associates should become more effective brand ambassadors and need to be equipped to market directly to or interact with shoppers via e-mail, text message and social platforms at any time,” said Sachs. “While store associates are well versed at using technology to find inventory, they need to be properly trained on how to use technology to create personalized experiences for shoppers in their day-to-day job.”

And consumers want to hear from store associates — as long as it’s about relevant updates. According to the report, shoppers want to be contacted about arrivals, in-store and online sales, and restocked merchandise. Going local stands to improve relationships, too. “Two out of three shoppers prefer to hear from their local store associate directly over the national retailer,” the report said.

“Shoppers need to feel the human touch throughout their shopping journey, whether that’s online or in-store,” said Sachs. “Associates who are properly trained to use technology are more likely to build relationships with shoppers, which is then a win-win for both customers and retailers.”

According to the research, “shoppers are two times more likely to make a purchase after interacting with a store associate.” What’s more, 84 percent of consumers want to receive e-mail or text messages from store associates — they want a direct line to local brand representatives to receive personal updates.

More from WWD:

Consumer Trust in AI-Powered, Voice-Enabled Assistants Grows

2018 Retail Predicts: AI, Experiences, Payment Transparency to Increase

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