The shift in the way that retail associates and customers interact in today’s store environment is dramatic. Before, customers simply entered the store, interacted with a salesperson, found the right item, and paid for it at list price.
Now, because consumers capture competitive product details swiftly with the tap of a mobile device, they challenge store employees to provide popular products at the lowest price. Customers call the shots, while retail managers do their best to guide employees toward effective interaction with this sophisticated segment.
Elaine Buxton, President of Confero, recently spoke with Software Advice about this topic, in the article “Empowering Associates to Assist the Educated Consumer.” She comments on the major challenges of arming employees with the right customer skills for technologically-savvy and demanding buyers.
Companies need to learn how to balance long term investment in training the sales team with the fact that some employees are in it for the short term.
A very insightful interview on empowered customers appeared recently on Talk of the Nation, National Public Radio (NPR). Researcher Paco Underhill and New York Times reporter Stephanie Clifford talked about A Buyer's Market: The Balance Of Power In Retail, offering insight into this new, buyers’ market world. Underhill points out that convenience still drives purchasing decisions. However the empowered customer, armed with competitor information at their fingertips, needs differentiated service at the store level to convince them to make the buy.
How is your company working with the new, empowered customer?