September 29, 2021 by Leigh Sevin, Co-founder of Endear methodology
How To Use Your Sales Associates To Learn Even More About Your customer

Productive Bounce Rate

One of the biggest advantages of operating physical retail stores is that those stores also come with a front-line team of salespeople, who can serve as the eyes and ears of your brand. Your retail associates are likely some of the only people on your team who are interacting with customers face-to-face on a recurring basis. That means they see how your customers respond to products on the shelf, what they say when they test things out or try items on, and of course what they actually purchase and why. But with all this data coming at your associates in the form of casual conversation, it can be hard to build a tight feedback loop that lets the rest of your team capture these insights.

But in today's omnichannel world, that feedback loop is much more attainable than you might think, thanks to a range of tools and software that make it easy for your associates not only to increase their communication with your customers, but also share what that communication has taught them. Here are the top opportunities for your associates to collect insights and feedback from your customers, and how best for them to do so.

When Customers Walk In

When a customer enters your store, they've immediately shown high purchase intent - in fact, customers who shop in-store typically have between a 20-40% conversion rate (compared to the <1% conversion rate online). Especially now with COVID as a consideration, that number is likely even higher. Only now, there are two kinds of walk-ins:

Scheduled walk-ins:

If you are currently offering in-store appointment booking, then you're already in a great position to start collecting insights on your customers even before they walk in since you likely have their email from when they booked their visit. While your appointment software likely sends a generic confirmation email, supplementing that email with a friendly email or text from your store staff will help to decrease the chances of a no-show and give your team the opportunity to learn more about the customer, for example by either sending a quick survey on sizing or by sending a few initial products for the customer to review ahead of time. Through this initial outreach, your team can supplement the customer's email with her responses to these questions and further increase the chances of a conversion while in-store.

Organic walk-ins:

For customers who walk into your store on their own, there are some key questions you likely want answered, even if they don't purchase: what prompted you to come in, and what are you most eager to find while you're here? While some shoppers prefer to be left alone, training your team to ask at least one of these basic questions is a great way for you to get a general picture of why people are walking in. But most importantly, you'll want to create a few canned options for your associates so that they can summarize for you at the end of the day which "type" of traffic you're seeing most of:

  1. I came here deliberately / I was seeking your store out
  2. I was organically passing by your store

Even if they learn nothing else, having your associates bucket every walk-in into either of these categories will deliver you a snapshot of what is driving traffic into your stores and in turn, how to spend your budget on promoting your location. They can deliver this info to you in an EOD report based on percentage of traffic, they don’t need to know customers’ names for you to capture this information.

While customers are shopping

There are several ways to capture and track the customers browsing your store through your associates. Even if the associates are collecting info verbally, you can encourage them to document responses to questions through internal surveys and forms. However, there are also other touch points within the store experience that can increase your ability to get to know your customers. The most obvious one is any sort of fitting room or product engagement opportunity. By establishing a queue for fitting rooms or by asking customers to register for a room, you're creating a way for your store to collect relevant data. Modern solutions like Crave Retail allow you to enhance the fitting room experience with technology that will then give you an even clearer picture of what items your customers are bringing into the fitting room and which customers are converting. You can supplement this data with insights from your associates regarding why the customer chose not to purchase. In order to keep track of all this info about a single customer, you'll likely need a customer CRM like Endear, where your retail team can add in notes and tasks related to all your shoppers on top of the data that's coming from any other connected app like your POS system or e-commerce platform.

While customers are checking out

Check-out is a prime moment to collect information about your customers because these are the customers you've managed to delight with your products - they are therefore most receptive to making a trade not just of money for goods, but potentially additional info such as their contact info or other critical data points. Check-out may also be your best opportunity to get additional insights on what brought that customer into your store - you can incorporate questions at this stage such as "how did you hear about us?" or inviting them to participate in your loyalty program. What's most important is that your retail operations are set up to take advantage of these opportunities, such as enabling your store team to enroll people in your loyalty program on the spot, or registering customers' responses to the HDYHAU question.

After a Customer Purchases

If you are able to capture a customer's info at any stage of their initial shopping journey, then the whole world has opened up for you and your retail team. With a resource like Endear, your store team can further segment store shoppers by a whole host of data points to continue to stay in touch with them such as their lifetime spend or a specific item they purchased. Equipped with this knowledge, your retail team can continue to engage shoppers with personalized or localized offers, invites to events, or product recommendations. By empowering your store associates to reach out to customers on an ongoing basis, you create an ongoing channel for asking questions and learning even more about your audience - the benefit to the customers is that she now also has a way to get her questions answered - you’ve now create a symbiotic relationship, where both parties are benefitting from being in touch. Add on top of that the ability to use a customer's preferred communications channel, and your associates now represent your immediate access to your entire customer base in a format that's personalized and helpful.

Salespeople are often the first face that any customer will associate with your brand, so it makes sense to lean on them to establish trust with your audience. But they can also be vital resources when it comes to implementing a data-driven retail strategy. The more data you can collect from the customers visiting your store, the more you can ensure the store's success and the growth of your retail channel. To learn more about how to increase the power of your stores, visit endearhq.com and get a free estimate on how much more in sales you could be doing with their app.

Endear’s clienteling app empowers your retail team to keep driving sales no matter what store traffic looks like. With Endear, associates can email and text with customers and share product recommendations while the app tracks how outreach converts into purchases in-store and online.