Far from being the death knell for traditional brick and mortar stores, digital technology and the rapid, continued growth of online shopping have opened exciting new opportunities for retail companies to connect with consumers on multiple levels, including in-person, in-store through trained, motivated sales people.
More than ever, recruiting, training and motivating salespeople to retain and refine their on-the-job performance can provide retailers with a significant competitive advantage.
Far From Folding Sweaters
Far more is expected from today’s retail in-store sales person than ever before which means the ideal candidates need more skills in their repertoire than ever before. Even as e-commerce becomes further entrenched as the preferred point of sale for a majority of consumers, retailers are betting on face-to-face interaction, or the human relationship, to be a major asset enhancing the appeal of stores.
As consumer behavior evolves, so too must the role of the salesperson. This means hiring the right candidates is much more important than it was back when the most important retail skills were being able to neatly fold and display sweaters or pants, use a cash register and count out change.
New responsibilities for in-store retail salespeople include:
✔ Acting as an critical link between the brick-and-mortar store and their web site
✔ Enriching the overall customer experience
✔ Quickly identify individual customer needs
✔ Reinforce or validate the customer’s buying decision
✔ Building trust with customer
✔ Up-selling or promoting special sale items and more.
Salespeople are now influential ambassadors of a brand or company image and are a powerful tool in the “web-to-store” chain of purchasing. Good salespeople attract new customers, generate repeat business and increase average purchase totals.
Better Technology = Better Sales Talent
Providing digital tools to salespeople is a critical component to help them perform better and to provide optimal in-store support. This not only helps generate more sales, but is also a motivator for Millennial, Gen X and Gen Z salespeople whose use of technology is second nature. After all, technology allows the salesperson to better advise the customer and actually initiate a relationship of trust with them. This is important when you understand the new and growing phenomenon happening with online consumers where they go to a physical store location to evaluate a product but then make the actual purchase online – often saving money in the process.
Another way technology is being used successfully in the retail environment is with mobile apps that allow the salesperson to check inventory and even place an order for a customer if a particular item is out of stock. Or checking inventory availability (sizes, colors, etc.) at other store locations – all of which can avoid losing a customer and a sale to a competitor.
The Downside of a Thriving Economy
Unfortunately, due to a thriving North American economy and historically low unemployment rates, the retail industry is experiencing a sharp drop in applications from job seekers. Also, retailers have traditionally defaulted to employing young, under-qualified, inexperienced workers who are not necessarily looking for long-term opportunity (ie: “It’s not going to be my career!”)
While many retailers are investing substantial amounts of money to research and focus group better ways to target millennials and Generation Z consumers, the smartest, most proactive employers are deliberately hiring from these groups to better relate (and sell ) to the younger consumers. Leading edge HR technology like Cegid’s Talents and CV Manager integrate seamlessly with job boards to let HR managers reach multiple job boards using a single recruitment solution which is a focal point for all candidates from multiple sources.
Meeting Great Expectations
Finally, recruiters in the retail segment are also becoming aware of changes in candidate expectations. For example, many of today’s jobseekers are looking for more than just a paycheck. HR experts say that today’s salesperson applicants tend to seek opportunities to be a part of a business’ growth, or to learn and grow into other roles within a given company. This is important because employers who offer ongoing training opportunities and pathways to future positions are experiencing slower turnover of employees and much greater overall engagement from sales staff. Here again is where Cegid technology like Job Guide enables companies to give employees insight into job opportunities at any given time in their own organization.
Find out more about how to better manage your workforce from hire to retire, with a modern Talent Management Suite designed to fit your industry best practices.