This article was first published in the Summer 2015 issue of OnWindows
Empowering retail staff to deliver a shoulder-to-shoulder experience for customers can help ensure loyalty and recurring business going forward.
By delivering information on shoppers’ past purchase history, declared preferences and the best offers to sales teams on the shop floor, the Sales Advisor application from NCR helps staff tailor the shopping experience for each customer.
Thanks to the Sales Advisor single service and sales platform, retail staff have access to customer loyalty information and preferences, and are therefore able to enhance and provide diversity to the shopping experience.
“It’s really about ensuring the customer has something they are confident in when they leave the store,” says Scot DeLancey, senior director of Solution Management at NCR. “Sales Advisor changes the dynamic and makes the sales person much more of a consultant than a cashier. Say a shopper comes in looking for a skirt, and say the skirt could go with four or five accessories. With Sales Advisor, staff can begin to put together a ‘look’ for someone rather than just being able to find the individual item. It helps the chances of expanding the package that shoppers are going to buy, and that they will walk out of the store happy with the selections they have made.”
Using Sales Advisor, retailers are able to add another dimension to their loyalty programmes by creating a relationship with their shoppers based on recommendations not just simply a transaction.
“Shoppers feel like they’re being guided rather than sold to, and know that if they come back to that store, they’ll find something that meets their needs and that staff will help them find it,” DeLancey says. “This dovetails with the increased upsell and cross-sell opportunities by being able to zone in on what the shopper really wants. Being able to do that across the retailer’s portfolio of merchandise is a way to help boost basket size and revenue.”
In-store promotions can also be delivered more effectively with Sales Advisor. Staff can use the application through mobile devices out on the shop floor to inform shoppers of current promotions. These devices can also help identify, locate and order items that may not be available in store. The Sales Advisor application enables associates to find an item as it’s connected to the retailer’s inventory management system, and reserve it or have it shipped to another store or the shopper’s home.
From an operational standpoint, Sales Advisor is able to help staff get up and running in a short time.
“Sales Advisor allows us to train a workforce with a high turnover or seasonal changes, getting them acquainted on the wide variety of products they can have,” says DeLancey. “This means the training time for a sales associate can be much faster in the store. You might be working with associates who are brand new, but they quickly have the ability to be very effective in supporting the shopper when they come into the store.”
The flexibility of a tablet device means that staff can locate stock both inside and outside of the store, have full visibility of inventory, and meet the needs of the customers across a number of different verticals.
“One example is in the apparel industry, as Sales Advisor can enable item recommendation and guided selling,” DeLancey explains. “By looking into past purchase history and a shopper’s ‘virtual closet’, sales staff can deliver accurate and timely advice on purchases.”
Another area where the application can help is lawn and garden, with many shoppers not vastly knowledgeable in this segment. The ability to deliver dynamic advice in specialised areas can transform the shopper experience – recommending which plants are compatible with each other and which ones require full sun or shade for example – and ensure they return in the future. Similarly, specialist advisory services can be delivered in a variety of industries, such as the home goods and pet supplies segments, among others.
In order to deliver these benefits to sales staff and have a dynamic presence on the shop floor, NCR works with Intel to deliver the application across a variety of tablets and devices with different form factors and capabilities.
DeLancey explains: “Not only are sales associates able to use our application on their range of devices, but it can also enable advanced management as part of an overall sales network. Because these devices are by nature mobile, we have to make them protective and be able to locatable and affordable. Intel is key for these aspects.”
Though the challenges of each specific retailer are unique, Sales Advisor is a comprehensive, flexible tool that can help them build relationships with their shoppers that enable them to stand out in an increasingly crowded retail landscape.
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