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05/05/2020

Empowering Retail Employees to Handle All and Any Customer Requests

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In this digital era, technology can provide multiple opportunities for retailers to create engaging experiences for customers. In certain categories like fashion and specialized products, customers may largely prefer human interaction with salespeople for immediate assistance. 

Retailers need to ensure their workforce is equipped with access to the data insights and purchase profiles to respond to the customer needs and preferences. Readily accessible data empowers employees to handle any and all requests which will optimize the customer experience and effectively drive up ROI. Empowering salespeople also engages their performance. 

Salespeople, supported by a trustworthy, easy-to-use mobile device, will be able to assist customers and make dynamic decisions based on information about the store, products, customers and offers in real time. The mobility adds the flexibility for employees to respond to customers at any time or place in the store without having to go back to their kiosks multiple times. It also helps them cross-sell new products, be aware of store arrangements and upsell fast moving items to keep customers engaged. 

In fashion, appliances, and electronics, customers need guidance to ensure they’re making the best decision to suit their personal needs. On arrival, a customer can use the loyalty program built into the store’s mobile app to signal their arrival and request assistance from an salesperson. The store’s system can automatically allocate a salesperson to guide the purchase journey, based on previous purchase patterns.

Through a loyalty program, the customer may receive preferential treatment from one of the most productive salespeople in the store. The salesperson will also be aware of the customer purchase history and be better equipped to guide the customer to complete their transactions.

See also: Navigating Furniture Rental in the Age of Contactless Delivery

Leveraging artificial intelligence tools provides predictive recommendations and a history of sales returns. Coupled with the knowledge of existing and upcoming products through mobile devices, salespeople can fine-tune their sales approach. Information about new products can also help them cross-sell or upsell items based on customer preferences. The customer is more likely to make a purchase when salespeople integrate knowledge about the products with the customer’s needs and purchase history.  

With AI-based predictive technology, salespeople could apply certain customized discounts that would expedite the customer’s decision-making and ensure they’re happy with their purchases. Loyalty points and discounts go hand in hand, where discounted products may carry less loyalty points, non-discounted items will carry more points towards future purchases. 

When the customer decides to purchase a product, salespeople can view inventory in real time through the store’s information system, IoT sensors, or CCTV images to inform the customer if the requested item is available or provide an estimated timeline for when the item will be in stock. 

Store floor layouts tend to be dynamic. They are constantly being rearranged based on purchasing patterns, sales information, or the release of new products. Understanding the store floor layout plan with item details in real time will help salespeople guide the customer through the store more effectively. 

Salespeople and customers want to spend their time productively, and improving their productivity also improves the store’s operational efficiency. Salespeople’s productivity can be improved with a change in role or updating their knowledge as technology changes. Operational efficiency can also be improved with alerts and AI-based suggestions to replenish stock. 

Using real-time visuals of the inventory from CCTV cameras combined with AI technology allows salespeople to refresh the items on a timely basis and eliminate unproductive time spent engaged in periodic manual inspection.IoT-based alerts, indicating the need to refresh the product items, can be sent by work allocation logic to assign tasks to salespeople in a routine manner.  

As retail keeps evolving, salespeople can be trained through web-based trainings. The trainings can be assigned based on technology and career updates, when roles evolve or on a continuous basis. Employees can be trained for mixed reality technologies so that they can help customers to use the technology in the store to expedite a purchase. 

When salespeople are empowered with product details, real-time availability, and smart discounts, they are more likely to create customer relationships with the company. 

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Venkatesh R.S. is lead architect, RDAT at Wipro Technologies. He has over 21 years of experience in software product and system integration development. His expertise areas include solution architecture, technical architecture, multi-tenant product solutions, SaaS product development, AWS, Micro services SCRUM, customer management and security compliance. He has knowledge in IoT, Docker and Kubernetes. He is an AWS certified solution architect–associate and PMP certified