At the center of our retail story, you will find the store associate. And at 16-million across the United States, store associates currently make up the largest job category. Yet, they still don’t have computers to do their jobs effectively. Mark Steele, Head of Sales & Marketing at Tulip, was joined on stage by Josh Chernoff, Managing Director at Box for Retail and Bernardine Wu, CEO at FitForCommerce at NRF’s 2016 Big Show to talk about why investing in your store associates with better technology and access to information is the smartest thing you could do in 2016.
The most profound impact ecommerce has had on retail is broadening the customer’s expectation about when and how they can access information. They want to be fully informed before buying, but retailers have been slow to respond and still greatly underperform in this area when it comes to providing the same level of access to information as the online store. Your best store associates should be able to drive more sales conversions just as well–or better–than ecommerce, once they’ve been enabled with mobile technology.
There is a still significant divide between the customer and store associate. Shoppers access reviews, comparisons, availability, and promotions through their phones while in the physical retail store. They don’t consult with the sales associate, since more often than not, customers are better equipped to find the information themselves. When asked, 59% of customers expect that store associates should be using mobile technology today and yet less than 40% of retailers are actually using mobile technology. Customers are frustrated and would like store associates to provide information of past purchases, preferences, and availability to be able to create a more tailored omnichannel experience.
At Tulip, we want to cut through the noise and provide you with the top three investments you can make in helping your store associates to drive more sales conversions:
- Providing endless access to product inventory and information
- The ability to communicate directly with customers via email and SMS
- Collaborate and communication with peers and head office
Investment #1: Endless access to product information from anywhere and anytime
We regularly hear from retailers that the number one thing they want for their store associates to have is instant access to the product catalog and inventory from anywhere on the selling floor. Store associates want to be able to sell everything, anywhere and being able to look up any product and associated details, customer reviews, and availability, immediately increases their effectiveness with their customers since they’re now seeing what they see.
We’re seeing major increases of nearly 30% in basket size when a store associate has access to basic product information.
A store associate logs in and can gain a high-level view of their tasks, personal sales goals, and client follow-ups
View product availability from the endless aisle or nearby stores to save the sale
Investment #2: The ability to communicate directly with customers to build long-lasting relationships
Store associates want the ability to provide a personalized experience to their customers by sending texts and emails when new products come in or to notify a customer of an upcoming promotion. With Tulip, they can perform client follow-ups by using templated emails and SMS, all of which is stored within the platform. We’re seeing that when customers are serviced with personal recommendations, conversion rates increase by 24% and customer loyalty can grow upwards of 33%. When coupled with our Product and Omnichannel Checkout module, sales can have been recaptured when the store associate is able to order the out-of-stock item and ship to the customer’s home.
97% of shoppers purchase as much–or more–than intended when a store associate proved very helpful and 81% even when they were deemed to be only somewhat helpful.
Gain full insights into customer profile and history to help make intelligent recommendations
Send templated or customized emails in minutes
Investment #3: Enhance store operations and communications with Box
By integrating with Box, retailers are able to provide a content platform that makes it easy for everyone—from the merchandising team at head office, to the store manager and the store associate on the ground floor—to find, access, collaborate on, and store content from wherever they need to work. Box instantly provides Tulip a very mature way of doing this that is secure, device agnostic, and intuitive to use. Store associates can access rich media content like videos, planograms, and visual merchandising directives easily through the Box module. Then, when finished setting up a display, they can take a picture all within the device and sync directly up to head office.
Sync rich media files directly within Box
Send corporate communications, PR mentions, and direct messages across the business
It’s time for a practical solution to a practical problem
At Tulip and Box, we’re entirely focused on the store associate and finding ways to to bring information to the selling floor. Retail needs a practical solution to a practical problem and by introducing a platform that can integrate with existing systems, you can worry about the things that matter, like increasing sales conversions, retention rates, and loyalty. Join us in making 2016 the year of the store associate.
Plan your next move and empower store associates with access to information today. Book a demo.
Sources: Tulip Retail Store Associate Interaction Study 2014, App Dynamic 2015