How are things going with your retail sales associate influencer marketing strategy?
We’re guessing you just said, “wait, what?” to yourself.
Retail sales associates are some of the best advocates and influencers you have, and identifying them is so easy…and yet they’re generally forgotten when considering how to best identify, target, engage, and see value from influencers.
81% of consumers plan to do at least the same amount of shopping in-store next year as they’ve done this year, which means your retail associates are a critical touchpoint in contributing to a consumer’s overall experience. You need to be sure your retail experts are ready to make informed recommendations to consumers ready to buy. If consumers are going to leave the store happy (and if they’re going to actually keep and use the item they purchased), then positive experiences with a retail sales associate are critical. But laying that foundation begins long before the consumer enters the store. That foundation needs to begin the minute your new hire steps in the door for her first day on the job.
ExpertVoice is home to more than one million retail sales associates and category professionals, and they’ve given us some fantastic insight into how they can be better at what they do — and help you sell more product.
What is it experts need?
ExpertVoice recently surveyed more than 1,000 of these experts on their recommendation behavior. What do retail sales associates need in order to confidently make recommendations to consumers?
90% of experts state they must have knowledge of a product in order to recommend it, and 78% state they must have personal experience with a product to recommend it. Give your retail associates the opportunity to experience and learn about products through the following
- Personal use through a product seeding program
- Educational reading and viewing materials from the brand
- Conversations with brand reps
- Role playing with other employees
Through ExpertVoice there are*:
- 712,711 active retail locations targeted by brands
- 8,092,027 completed Edu-games
- $22,213,917 on 212,870 products by retail experts
- 16,650 pieces of User Generated Content posted by experts
- 21,192 actual product recommendations posted by experts**
And those product recommendations? We only turned that functionality on in April 2018, so in case you’re bad at math like our Content Strategist, that’s more than 21k product recommendations posted in 6 months.
How these figures translate into increased sales
79% of consumers state that a person’s knowledge in the product or category is the most important factor in taking that recommendation. Because experts have shared they need training and experience in order to confidently recommend, every brand must have a scalable training and seeding program in place.
ExpertVoice partnered with Marshall Fisher and the Wharton School to determine tangible value of training a sales associate, and the results are astounding. The study involved more than 63,500 retail sales associates in 330 stores over 2 years, comparing point-of-sale data to sales associates’ engagement with ExpertVoice in the categories and brands they sell.
Sales associates who engage with a brand through ExpertVoice sell more.
A lot more.
The study showed that sales associates who completed even one short training through ExpertVoice sold 69% more than those who didn’t. And associates who completed six or more training lessons sold 123% more than those who took none. When looking at lift, brand sales were 87% higher for sales associates who engaged with just one brand training lesson, versus those who didn’t engage at all.
In fact, sales associates who took one ExpertVoice course (with an average of three lessons) sold a full 9.5% more afterward. And each additional completed lesson equated to selling that brand at an increase of 2-4% afterward.
Just think of all those influencers you have ready to prove out your influencer marketing ROI.
If you consistently provide educational content, and offer first-hand product experiences to your retail sales associates, they’ll not only be ready to help a consumer in need of a trusted recommendation, they’ll be excited to do it. That means more sales for a brand and retailer, and happier consumers, too.
*As of July 2018
**As of September 2018