How to Turn Your Retail Sales Associates into Online Power Sellers

I recently had a conversation with a brick-and-mortar merchant that opened an ecommerce store during the pandemic. Even though people are getting back to in-store shopping, he revealed that foot traffic is still lower than pre-pandemic days.

He has a dilemma. He can't justify keeping sales associates on the floor when the traffic doesn't support it, and he doesn't want to lay off high producing associates that have spent months, if not years, to develop the expert level product, brand, and customer knowledge that customers have come to expect.

The good news is he has options. He can redeploy associates to online sales using live video shopping and digital clienteling. Brands can now provide the same white-glove service consumers get in-store - online using these tools.

Consider this. Sixty-nine percent of all shoppers, including Gen X digital natives,  still prefer to get advice from sales associates, particularly when it comes to fashion. This aspect of the shopping experience has been missing from ecommerce stores. However, brands that have implemented digital clienteling have unlocked incremental sales by 30%.

Set up Store Associates for Success

Let's take a look at the digital clienteling tools that turn sales associates into online power sellers.

  1. Access to customer data – Clienteling relies on client data stored in a CRM. Clienteling tools pull that data and present a comprehensive view of available customer information, including preferences, important dates, purchase history, and communication preferences. This gives associates the information they need to create a hyper-personalized shopping experience. The end goal is to increase customer lifetime value.
  2. On-demand appointments - Similar to other on-demand services such as Uber and Lyft, customers can request on-demand appointments on your website or within the clienteling app. Associates can also reach out to their VIP customers using SMS and request an appointment to discuss new promotions, collections, or product availability.
  3. Integrated Catalog - Associates can search and quickly pull up any product within your eCommerce catalog and share it directly to your customer's screen. Associates and customers can build shopping bags during a live session, share products, and provide real-time information on merchandise of interest.
  4. Barcode Scanning - If associates are on the store floor, they can scan merchandise barcodes directly in the app and pull up product information from the catalog to share with customers while talking about or demonstrating the product live.
  5. Cross-channel 1-on-1 engagement - Some customers prefer text, while others prefer email. Personalize interaction on the customer's preferred channel to share recommendations, special announcements, or schedule online or in-store appointments.
  6. Real-time view of consumer shopping behavior - Associates shop with consumers every step of the way and view buyers' actions as they happen. They see what customers are looking at, what they've favorited, and what's in their bag, creating a white-glove experience.
  7. Trackable Commission - Digital clienteling enables commissioned sales associates to track commission from online sales on a dashboard from within the app. There is no longer a need to circumvent the system to receive a commission.
  8. Reviews - After each live session, customers can rate sales associates and provide improvement feedback.

Clienteling efforts can have a quantifiable impact if you put these tools in your sales associate's hands. Revenue increases by up to 30% and customers have a 4x higher average annual spend. Your customers are happy, your employees are happy, and you are happy. It's a win-win for everyone.

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