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Author: Wayne Hockley | Posted October 01, 2019 | Retail


Can who I hire protect me from Online Retailers?

Retail Employees

Another article addressing the future and the retail industry, ughh! We all have seen articles about change, technology, new trends, the need for a great customer experience. Change in retailing is everywhere, but practically what can you do to help your stores meet the demands of the future retailer today? One “bottom line” suggestion is: get your retail-focused employees out from behind the counter. Many stores hire people that are comfortable with running a POS or handling cash, or can be relied on to handle day-end closing procedures. This article will outline the benefits of mixing in warm, outgoing individuals in the hiring mix and bringing them out from behind the counter.

"Oh great, one more thing I need to do" you might be saying to yourself. It doesn’t have to be hard. As part of the hiring process you could ask individuals to do a personality test. A free online test like www.my-personality-test.com will help you get to know your new employee. In this test, if you find a candidate who is strong in the “Feeling and Perceiving” categories then this is someone who has the potential to change your customer's experience. How? Imagine a person with a warm smile, who likes to connect with customers, who enjoys being at the front of the store answering customer questions about inventory, future sale prices or your online store and tendering the sale for the customer — all with a tablet (linked to your POS system). This relational selling approach doesn’t need to be reserved for the “apple stores” of this world, it is available to every size and type of store, from a technology point of view, now. But do you have those warm, relational, outgoing people? If you do, you are on the right track, but how does this help you prepare for the future?

I subscribe to the "5 Different Types of Customers" model outlined in an article by The Balance SMB. Let’s examine how this approach alters how customers view their experience in your store compared to the other ways they typically can and will buy.

Loyal Customers: Typically these customers are 20% of your traffic, but represent approx. 50% of your sales. They love your products, they love your location now let’s give them more — personalized service, quick response (no running to the back to get that inventory answer or follow me to returns). Tell them about upcoming specials, new product introductions or which other location has what they are looking for — all with a smile and a personal connection.

Discount Customers: I am so one of these, I love a deal! Take the sale now! If you know that item is going on sale at the end of the month, don’t tell them to come back then. Take the sale now and call them at the end of the month to say their item is ready for pick up or would they like it shipped, and do they want to pay now or later? Now that’s service to a discount customer. If you did that for me, I am on my way to becoming a loyal customer!

Impulse Customers: Another way to say it is, “on-the-spot decision makers”. How many sales are lost between the rack out front and the walk to the POS counter? How many sales are lost because staff don’t have the answers “on the spot?” That warm, friendly associate of yours, equipped with a tablet for answering any questions is a powerful customer experience for on-the-spot decision makers.