19 December 2022

The In-Store Experience: The Role of the Sales Clerk in a Competitive Marketplace

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by Fiza Khan
The retail industry is one that has undergone many changes over the past few decades. The rapid growth of ecommerce and the increasing adoption of digital services have made some traditional retailers feel uneasy about the future. Thankfully, this has also forced other retailers to rethink their strategies for engaging consumers. In response to these new trends, many brick-and-mortar stores have begun investing in new technologies and redesigning their store spaces to make shopping with them an appealing experience once again. The role of sales associates in a store has changed drastically over the years. Previously, sales associates were hired to point customers in the right direction or bring them something they’d forgotten in the dressing room. But today sales associates play a much more important part in driving sales and keeping customers happy. While it’s no longer enough to place a friendly face at the front register—companies must ensure their sales associates are adequately trained and equipped with all they need to excel not just as a salesperson, but as brand ambassadors.
Why is store clerk training so important?
Stores spend millions designing the storefront, choosing product displays, and creating a unique brand identity. However, all of that is thrown out the window if the employees don’t know how to communicate any of it to customers with complete product knowledge. Customers have come to expect more from retailers than just a selection of products. They want an experience they can’t get anywhere else. A clerk who knows how to communicate, using the right  product knowledge, will set their store apart from the competition. 
Customer service is key
The relationship between customer service and sales has been proven in study after study. Customers who report high levels of satisfaction with the store experience are more likely to buy from that retailer again. This is why it’s so important to hire sales associates who understand the importance of providing excellent service and are trained to have complete product knowledge. Customers shop at different stores for a variety of different reasons, but one of the most common is that the customer has a positive experience with the sales associate.
Bricks-and-mortar retailers should invest in technology
It can be easy to overlook the importance of investing in technology when designing a store, given that many of the newest technologies are digital. While it’s important to make sure your store is equipped with the latest gadgets, it’s more important that employees know how to use them to your advantage. This includes everything from the digital price tags that change depending on the item a customer is looking at to store-wide voice assistance that guides customers to products in their departments. Sales associates should be able to use these technologies to provide customers with added value, such as suggesting similar products based on what a customer is browsing. 
Brick-and-mortar stores should also be aware that customers expect more from their experience. As much as customers enjoy shopping online, they still value being able to get advice from a real person. This is especially true when it comes to products that aren’t available online.
Stores Should be Unique and Exciting to Visit
While many customers still want the ability to walk into a store and examine their purchases with their own two eyes, some customers are more attracted by the prospect of finding an item online and having it delivered to their door. To keep these customers engaged, stores must be unique and exciting enough to draw them away from their computers and into their physical locations. There are a few ways stores can accomplish this. One way is to design the store with customer experience in mind. Investing in technology and adding features that help customers navigate the store easier and faster will ensure they enjoy their shopping experience.
Another way is to create a unique shopping experience. This can be done by creating themed shops within the store’s walls, or even by setting up events or experiences within the store.
Sales Associates Should be Product Experts
As customers become more comfortable purchasing products online, the role of the sales associate has shifted to one that is more focused on product knowledge. This is especially true when it comes to items that can’t be purchased online, such as different types of apparel that people don’t buy before trying. When customers come into a store to purchase these types of items, they expect to be able to talk to a sales associate who can give them all the information they need to make an informed decision.
If a salesperson isn’t fully versed on the details of every product in the store, it can lead the customer to doubt their knowledge. This can lead customers to incorrectly assume that the store doesn’t stock quality items or isn’t worth their business.
When it comes to selling, one of the most important tasks is to be able to explain the benefits of every product. In order to do this, it is important for a salesperson to have a deep knowledge of the product that is being sold. For example, let’s say that customers are interested in purchasing a handbag from the store. The salesperson must know the different types of handbags available and be able to talk about the benefits of each one. 
The retail industry has undergone a lot of changes over the last few decades. The rapid growth of ecommerce and the increasing adoption of digital services have forced many traditional retailers to rethink their strategies for engaging customers. In response to these new trends, many brick-and-mortar stores have begun investing in sales clerks training, new technologies and redesigning their store spaces to make shopping with them an appealing experience once again. 
No longer are they just a person ringing up sales. Retail sales is multi-faceted and although challenging,  the best sales associates are friendly, knowledgeable, and have a desire for the fashion industry. Put them in a unique, energized environment; and your staff will be your most vital asset. 

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