ExpertVoice Unveils Study of 63,000 Sales Associates Showing Knowledgeable Retail Associates Sell 87 Percent More

ExpertVoice Unveils Study of 63,000 Sales Associates Showing Knowledgeable Retail Associates Sell 87 Percent More

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May.27.14

LED BY WHARTON PROFESSOR, MARSHALL FISHER, STUDY QUANTIFIES THE VALUE OF UNIQUE, INTERACTIVE TRAINING IN BUILDING HELPFUL EXPERTS ON THE SALES FLOOR

SALT LAKE CITY (May 27, 2014) – ExpertVoice, the largest network of retail and category experts, today released the results of a study in partnership with Marshall Fisher, a professor at the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania, to help brands and retailers quantify a simple but unanswered question: What is the financial impact of having a more knowledgeable sales staff on the retail floor?

With retail earnings once again reporting a downward trend, it is clear that competing in today’s retail market requires a more data-driven approach to analyzing investments that impact the in-store experience.

“Brick-and-mortar retailers are spending $200 billion on their floor employees each year, yet there are very few programs that explore ways to make that investment more productive and differentiated,” said Tom Stockham, CEO of ExpertVoice. “Today, the smartest retail and product brands are beginning to understand that those who invest in great buying experiences can both build brand advocates and give customers the helpful expertise they need. Having this comprehensive data set provides the proof: Getting associates to engage with building their expertise is one of the most effective tools for increasing sales.”

The Study

The study used a comprehensive data set which was analyzed by a research team lead by Drs Marshall Fisher, Santiago Gallino, and Serguei Netessine. The researchers were tasked with providing a clear, concrete answer of the business value of building expertise in a sales associate. The study tracked comprehensive information about 63,500 retail sales associates from 330 stores including per-hour sales activity for each store. The data was then mapped to the sale associate’s interactions on ExpertVoice’s network. To provide meaningful results, the research team had to control for a long list of issues that included seasonality, tenure and in-stock levels.

The Key Findings

  • Individuals who engage are selling a lot more on the sales floor. The study shows that sales associates who completed as little as one module sold 69 percent more than those who didn’t. And associates who completed six or more modules sold 123 percent more than those who took none.
  • Individuals who engage with a brand sell a lot more of that brand. Brand sales were 87 percent higher for sales associates who engaged with just one module for that brand vs. those who didn’t engage at all.
  • Sales performance increases because of interaction. Sales associates who took one interactive course containing an average of three modules sold a full 9.5 percent more after taking the training.

The Impact for Brands and Retailers

The impact for the industry was also called out by the lead researcher. “It’s rare to find such significant and comprehensive data sets to fully understand the impact of knowledge on sales efforts,” said Marshall Fisher, UPS Professor of Operations and Information Management at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. “The data confirms what we all know instinctively – that interacting with a knowledgeable, helpful expert creates a better buying experience. These findings should make retailers and brands evaluate the priority they place on sales associate training and knowledge.”

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About ExpertVoice

ExpertVoice connects brands with a network of more than 1 million experts across more than 30 product categories. The platform gathers the most influential and trusted recommenders, increases and improves their recommendations, and puts their recommendations to work on behalf of more than 500 of the world's top brands to increase sales to consumers. Learn more about ExpertVoice and discover how its rapidly growing community of brands and experts are transforming today's buying experience by visiting www.ExpertVoice.com/business.

Written By

Jennifer Black , Director of Marketing, B2B
ExpertVoice

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