Knowledge is power See why retailers should empower their associates

The woman is holding a shopping bag

Content Based Selling Series
Part 1 of 3
To read part two of this series please click here.

In a recent study, KPMG found that empowered sales associates sell 87% more than their poorly trained counterparts. This finding aligns to our own experience, and is the reason why we created the framework to enable a personalized shopping experience that we call “Content-Based Selling.” In this first post, I will introduce Content-Based Selling and explain why we think it’s the most important lever retailers can pull to improve their business performance.

Content-Based Selling is based on one simple belief: knowledge breeds confidence, and confidence breeds sales. Brick and mortar retailers face significant challenges catering to the needs of the modern consumer. Shoppers are ever-savvier, leveraging the internet and mobile devices such that they frequently know product features and competitor pricing better than store associates. In fact, the average consumer spends six hours researching products and uses 12 different sources for cementing a purchase decision (Brafton, November 2014). They are webrooming* and showrooming**, as well as collecting reviews and opinions over social media from friends and strangers. Meanwhile, ecommerce providers, led by Amazon, aggressively leverage the cost advantages of their light fixed investment models and have developed a competitive advantage in the optimization of logistics and supply-chain management.

Many of these mega-trends and challenges are beyond the control of retailers, but what does fall squarely under retailers' control is the customer experience occurring within the four walls of their stores. Customer experience is their competitive advantage over ecommerce companies in addition to other brick and mortar competitors; and the most important contributor to that positive store experience is the quality of service delivered by sales associates:

· 72% of shoppers rely on product experts when making a purchase in-store -Motorola Holiday Shopping Study, 2013
· 40% of showroomers reported that they didn’t start out intending to buy online, but were driven to do so by poor customer service in-store -Chain Store Age,2014
· 41% of those surveyed said that getting their issues resolved quickly is the most important aspect of good customer service -Multichannel Customer Service Survey, 2014

Recruiting, motivating, training, and retaining top-performing sales associates are some of the greatest challenges faced by brick and mortar retailers:

· 61% of shoppers believe they are better informed than sales associates -Motorola Holiday Shopping Study,2013
· 21% of departing sales associates left due to a lack of a career path, of whom 70% were considered high performers -HBR,2010
· Retail employee turnover is 55%, compared to 25% in manufacturing -Equifax 2015

Our mission is to help retailers address these challenges head-on by engaging with their sales associates – and helping sales associates engage with each other – by giving them the tools of Content-Based Selling. We believe that engaged sales associates will increase customer acquisition, retention, basket size, and reduce employee-related operational costs.

In the next post, I will introduce smar Retail our retail solution, and some of the early successes we have had in observing and measuring these types of business improvements.

* Webrooming: Looking at products in-store but turn to online retailers to finalize purchase.
** Showrooming: Looking at products online but turn to in-store retailers to finalize purchase.

To read part two of this series please click here.

Photo Credit: Forbes

Sr Manager, Andy Umans
Sr Manager, Andy Umans IT Technology
Samsung Electronics

Andy Umans is the Senior Manager for Samsung SDSA’s Global Business Development Team and has been with Samsung Group for 4.5 years now. He is the head of Retail Innovation and is responsible for setting the overall strategy and operations for the Solutions Business Unit of SDSA. Andy has spent over a year working with major retailers and technology partners to define Samsung’s vision for smart Retail.