I’ve been out doing some holiday shopping and checking out loyalty programs in the malls over the past few weeks.
Do you know what still strikes me every time I’m there?
We live in the Age of the Customer, yet the in-store retail experience is still very transactional. It does not build that personal interaction with the consumer.
The Most Powerful In-Store Asset That Retailers Have
Retail stores are not leveraging the most powerful asset they have in-store: Their associates.
The associates are the face of the company. They should be armed with all the right tools to deliver a superior customer experience that can build customer loyalty.
Traditional loyalty programs with transactional benefits like free shipping or a coupon are a much easier “sale”. Every retailer offers one. But all that does is train consumers to wait for discounts. Traditional rewards programs are great at getting signups and collecting email addresses, but they don’t build true loyalty.
Premium loyalty programs, on the other hand, are a harder “sale”, but offer much higher engagement levels because of premium benefits associated with them.
As a retailer, it’s critical for your in-store associates to get customers excited about signing up. It’s the associate, when given the proper assets, that will deliver the right information at the right time equaling the best result for the consumer. This creates an emotional connection.
How Do You Supercharge Your In-Store Loyalty Experience?
A retailer can have the best associates and the best loyalty program, but there is one element that ties everything together: Training.
This is not like a weekly sale where associates receive an email or have a notice posted in the break room.
Loyalty is a brand’s private label product. It should be dynamic and tell a story. With this type of “sale”, a face-to-face and more in-depth training is required.
Show your associates that you are invested in them and the product and that this is not like anything else you promote.
So, what can a thoroughly trained associate do at the POS?
This keeps the lines moving. The heartbeat of any retailer is the POS. By training associates and giving them the necessary tools and information, they will be able to easily and enthusiastically explain the value proposition to customers and get them to sign up.
Supplemental signage throughout the store helps build awareness around the program as well. This keeps the lines moving and customer satisfaction is increased.
It’s important that in-store associates feel confident and excited because it shows to customers.
Providing associates with in-depth knowledge of the program and benefits.
How they work, where they can be accessed and maybe a tip or trick for the customer will go a long way in building a connection that will drive more sales and put the consumer at ease with sharing more data.
Create Lifetime Value
You are building a relationship with the associate which can help with employee retention and satisfaction. The associate then turns around and builds the relationship with the customer who will continue to shop and advocate for your brand.
The amount of time and effort put into equipping your associates and getting them excited will directly translate to more customer engagement down the road.
After all, your loyalty program is about a lot more than collecting an email address.
Don’t Ignore Your Greatest In-Store Asset
Advertising, promotions, and spokespeople can be great, but unless you invest in your associates and provide them with the tools they need to make them and the brand successful, your customer loyalty and your business will never reach its full potential.
Remember, your in-store associates are your most import in-store assets.
Isn’t it time to empower your associates to give your customers the best in-store loyalty experience?