Innovation yielded the Internet and online shopping, and innovation continues to drive new technology and selling strategies powered by mobile technology. The influence of technology has touched many parts of the in-store experience, transforming brick-and-mortar selling forever.
But one aspect has remained criminally ignored: Floor sales associates. And as the environment around them undergoes dramatic change, it’s time for associates to get an upgrade, too.
As a recent article in CIO notes, consumers still enter stores expecting to be met with informed, experienced, helpful sales staff. Retailers still employ these associates as a form of front-line assistance to make sure customers get the service and experience they want.
But satisfaction is low, even though a better experience is very likely to increase sales. According to a TimeTrade survey of shoppers, 90 percent said they are more likely to make a purchase when assisted by a knowledgeable sales associate. But just as many say they can’t always find the right person to help.
And those survey summaries contain an important keyword qualifier: “knowledgeable.” Even when shoppers are able to track down a sales team member, it’s not a guarantee that the individual will be able to help. In many cases, shoppers are now measuring the usefulness of sales staff in comparison to the information available through their mobile devices.
Building A Modern Sales Associate
Within this conundrum lies a simple solution: sales associates become much more valuable when armed with mobile technology. Tablet devices in particular can be equipped with assisted selling tools that enable sales staff to be much more informative and efficient in helping clients.
But a report from Accenture found that only one percent of retailers currently use such technology. That figure is expected to rise in the coming years: CIO notes how retailers are empowering associates with a number of innovations, including mobile POS tools, clienteling technology, inventory management and in-store analytics, to increase their value to sales floor shoppers.
Sales staff play a support role in the store, but consumers are now using smartphones to fill that role to varying degrees. They can access product information, price comparisons, and even inventory checks at other stores from the convenience of their mobile screen. To compete with other retailers and maintain a valuable in-store experience, retailers can’t be content to match the usefulness consumers already wield in their pocket. Sales staff must use available technologies to take this service several steps beyond the current status quo.
Mobile technology is transforming almost every aspect of retail shopping. After much delay, such changes are finally coming to the role of the sales associate.
Mad Mobile is the leading provider of mobile-first solutions for the world's top companies and retailers.
Looking for a technology partner who can deliver amazing mobile solutions across multiple mobile interfaces?