Outdoor equipment supplier REI uses its sales staff as one of its strongest selling points. The retailer brands its associates as experts in their respective departments — weekend warriors who work hard so they can spend the rest of their time outdoors. The company often touts the “authenticity” of its sales staff, and uses this quality to advocate for shopping in its stores, where consumers can have all of their questions answered by a professional.
That strategy has proven very successful for REI, and even if it’s not a tactic that every retailer can replicate, it offers keen insights into how other retailers
One clear recommendation: Shoppers are eager to lean on the wisdom of experts. Where REI’s strategy becomes impractical for other brands, there’s an equally simple solution: an assisted selling tool. Built off of mobile technology and placed in the hands of sales associates, these tools are gaining traction as a means of maximizing the value of in-store talent, particularly across multiple store locations.
Combating The Limits Of In-Store Selling
Consider, for example, a shopper looking for skiing equipment in Florida, ahead of a big vacation to the mountains. A large sporting goods department store is likely to carry at least some skiing inventory. But the in-store sales associates aren’t likely to know anything about ski equipment, which can quickly grow frustration in a shopper.
Assisted selling tools remedy this problem by connecting a Florida sales associate with one working in a skiing community — say Denver. Through video chat, that Denver sales associate can offer guidance directly to the Florida associate and shopper, providing his own expert insight and turning that Florida store into a credible ski equipment seller.
Similar applications of this technology can assist non-English speaking customers, product recommendations, or any other problem that can be remedied by building a connected network of store associates. Mad Mobile’s assisted selling tool, Concierge, offers just such a feature known as Endless Expert, with the goal of breaking down the walls that can limit the quality of the in-store shopping experience.
Early adopters have seen strong results from the use of assisted selling tools at brick-and-mortar locations. Sales associates prove more engaged with customers, business performance and sales increase, and the in-store experience narrows a key digital divide between the physical and digital worlds of retail.
As brands work to reinvent in-store shopping, expect assisted selling tools to become more commonplace.
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