Are you a retail decision-maker looking to make a splash?
Let’s get one thing out of the way. You don’t need an AR mirror showing customers what they’d look like in the latest denim cut-offs while riding a unicorn with a tattoo habit.
Now, this would be pretty awesome. It’s retail innovation, the subject of much industry buzz.
But will it replace an associate who can get customers one size up when they’re stuck in the change room wearing cut-offs that are just too tight?
As a data-analytics solution, we at Vision.gl love our tech. But we’re retail professionals first and foremost, and we’d never advocate replacing people or installing tech for tech’s sake. There is just no replacement for an exceptional in-person interaction and experience.
Often the best way to discover and meet customer needs is having another person who can point them in the right direction, with advice when needed.
Forbes has stated: “The best retailers will see sales associates not as costs to be reduced, but assets to help move a brand from boring to remarkable and intensely relevant…”
Drawing on the work of the great Bob Phibbs, here are some person-to-person tips to help associates quickly connect with their visitors:
Just say Hello
Within 15 seconds of their arrival, say what you would when greeting a home visitor. Not “can I help you?” You’re building a connection- it’s about welcoming them. Nothing more, nothing less.
Akin to “it’s not you, it’s me”, this retail rejection can freeze the blood like liquid nitrogen. Hold a prop- a book, a product- anything that looks like the customer has caught you mid-activity. It’s the quintessential “playing it cool” move and shows that you haven’t just been waiting for them since breakfast. Then, approach from a 45-degree angle. This helps you to greet and move past them more naturally, and stops them from feeling like they’ve just been caught in the confrontation between a deer and two headlights.
Help Them Make Up Their Mind
Customers have a purpose. They did not leave their Uber-Eats and Netflix havens just for a laugh. Educate yourself about your products and hold a conversation about it over dinner with your loved ones. Practice asking questions, so that when a real customer stands in front of you with their needs, you can quickly respond well to the needs that they’ve expressed- without having to resort to sales BS. Then you will be ready for the sales floor, my friend.
As with any garment worth wearing, there is no one-size-fits-all for customers.
Treating everyone as if they’re cut from the same cloth leads to ill-fitting interactions.
In the same way that I don’t settle for just one pun, please don’t settle for blanket approaches. We all know what a great, tailored fit does for us.
One way to personalize your approach is to notice something about the customer and respond to it with your own (sincere!) personal tidbit. Even if it’s just that you like their hair colour, and have been wanting to go blonde for a while now.
That’s almost it for the tips. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll leave you with my final thought before I go set up a shrine to the Retail Doctor.
Know The Status Quo
Empowering your associates to do their job with actionable tips is one thing, but managing them effectively is what holds it all together.
In an article featuring research from McKinsey Global Institute, Harvard Business Review reports that the digital leaders within the retail sector will be those who provide employees with digital tools to promote productivity and increase profit margins.
HBR claims that store revenue can rise by as much as 20% when optimal staffing and training decisions are made, and access to in-store data provides the insights store managers need in order to prioritize coaching and make effective decisions.
So if you want real retail innovation, invest in your people first. Insights will get them connecting better so that you can confidently decide on which techtivations will provide a good return on investment. We’re hoping you’ll find it’s the Unicorn AR mirror.
Visit Vision.gl for a demo of our services.