Point of Conversation (POC) in Retail: Using mobility to change the role of the retail associate from transactional to consultative.
by Gary Lee – Chief Solutions Officer, Stratix
We’ve all read about how smart retailers today are shifting the focus of brick & mortar to the customer experience shoppers have as they visit and navigate the store. Retailers are looking at how to reinvent everything from
- How customers research products before and during their store visit
- The role of the store associate
- Changing the check-out / purchase process to eliminate long queues at cash registers and
- Including mobile POS for line-busting and other means of eliminating frustrating waits to purchase
What’s often overlooked as we examine the underlying technology in all of this is the role of the retail associate, and how the associate can appropriately leverage technology to assist shoppers as they consider, and then purchase goods.
Recent research from Stratix and IHL shows that for those associates who use mobile effectively, the impact on sales can be significant, with retailers expecting a 146% lift in sales in 2018 over other retailers who have not deployed mobile solutions.
At Stratix, we believe a key part of this is a focus on using mobility around the “Point of Conversation (POC)” to greet, engage, shepherd and close customers as they shop brick and mortar retail.
POC: Greet: Brick & mortar retailers have an opportunity to greet shoppers as they enter the store and learn more about the shopper from loyalty programs, which show past purchases and buying behaviors. Using technology such as beacons, the potential is there for associates to automatically receive this information from shoppers as they enter the store and have their personal mobile device configured with the store’s loyalty app. Greeting the customer and offering to help shepherd them to their needs, desires and even potential purchases can be a highly-personalized experience for the customer, and is the first conversation which occurs during the customer’s visit.
POC: Engage & Shepherd. Associates can use mobile technology and conversation-based selling to help customers with questions they have on product features, inventory availability, past purchases and even to upsell purchasing decisions with additional items to accessorize or complement the purchase. With mobile in their hands, and the right supply-chain / CRM applications in place, associates are uniquely equipped to guide the customer through the stages of a buying decision (research, consideration, choice, decision). The old days of retail left shoppers largely to their own decision-making process. But in today’s world, the opportunity is there to shepherd and guide the shopper as they navigate the store.
POC: Close. With mobile POS solutions, associates can now continue the conversation through the actual purchase instead of handing the customer off to a checkout line/queue. This allows a highly-personalized conversation to continue through to close, and allows the customer to feel valued and a high-level of customer service to be rendered.
The risks in all of this, of course, is hiring sales associates capable of being shepherds and guiding shoppers without heavy-handed sales techniques. The other risk is having mobile solutions always available and online to support these associates to guide the customer along the path-to-purchase.
Mobility is a key part of this transformation of retail from associates being transactional, to associates being consultative to shape the customer experience. From the research mentioned above, we see the positive impact this is having on retailers who effectively adopt this as a solution. Stratix is skilled at helping retailers plan, deploy, manage and support mobility for this transformation, and today works with some of the largest retailers in the world.
Point-of-Conversation retailing using mobility is a critical part of the reimagining of retail today. Stratix can help you get there.