Just like landline telephones and dial-up internet, the true power of retail sales associates is almost long forgotten.
Back in the day, retail sales associates were trusted. If a shopper had a question, they asked the person on the sales floor. Amazon reviews, Google searches, Facebook recommendations, and Reddit didn’t exist — there were just good old fashioned face-to-face recommendations.
But that’s not the day and age we live in now. And while I would never want to return to curly corded phones in the center of the house where anyone could eavesdrop on your conversation or resort to the patience-testing dial-up internet that screamed in your ear if you accidentally picked up the receiver, I do believe we should seriously reconsider how we shopped a few decades ago.
Because here’s the thing: retail sales associates still influence sales. That’s a fact. Consumers are 82% more likely to try or buy a product recommended by someone they trust. Let’s dig into that, because we’d be kidding ourselves if we declared that all retail sales associates invoke the feeling of trust in consumers. Trust has to be earned and it can be quickly lost. If I waltz into a sporting goods retailer and ask the nearest salesperson where I can find cleats and he shrugs and points to a corner of the store that he thinks they might be in, I’m probably not going to ask him any follow-up questions. But once I make it to the cleat corner and another sales associate shares the difference between a few pairs, explaining which ones provide stability and ankle support compared to the others designed for acceleration and sharp turns — this salesperson has my attention. I explain my needs and he’s able to recommend a pair specific to the sport, terrain and price range I’m looking for. That’s a retail sales associate who gained my trust. And why? Because he knew his stuff.
When RSAs know about the items they sell, they’re able to give consumers credible, authentic recommendations — recommendations they’re likely to follow.
With 90% of sales associates stating they need to know about a product before recommending it and 78% declaring they must have a personal experience before they can advise their customers to buy it, RSAs want and need training and experience with the products they sell. And consumers want and need retail sales associates who have the training and experience to give them great recommendations.
By providing RSAs with product information and first-hand experiences, you’re arming your team members with the tools they need to make trusted recommendations — and setting them up for success. And not to toot our own horn but…when retail sales associates train with brands on ExpertVoice, they’re 4x more likely to recommend that brand to their consumers.
ExpertVoice exists to provide experts, like RSAs, with the confidence and knowledge they need to give great product recommendations. Because we believe consumers deserve a better buying experience, and not to be too old fashioned, but we also believe that comes in the form of personal, knowledgeable recommendations.
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