What do you get when you multiply approximately 30 million commissioned in-store associates with 2.1Bn smart phone users and square root the $28Trn retail market? A recipe for revenue.
In a world with all this technology and expertise, there’s a huge opportunity for retailers.
The Retail DaVinci Code
At a time when the retail industry is searching for its next move, it doesn’t need to look very far. E-commerce platforms, while crucial to the growth of retail as a sector haven’t been kind to traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers, with many brands closing stores and many more confused as to how to connect their physical and digital presences.
There’s a tendency to look upon e-commerce as depletive to the utility and earning potential of in-store associates, to see it as ‘the enemy’; but that needn’t be the case. In all the online traffic, one thing is still missing; conversion.
Physical retailers have traditionally higher conversion rates than e-commerce platforms, with good reason. Their people (associates) and their spaces (in-store experiences) are conducive to converting sales, and websites – whilst optimized – aren’t set up in the same way. These associates are experts at selling the products they stock, they nurture relationships, provide advice and guidance and know how to up-sell by using the tools around them – the well-crafted in store experiences. Ultimately, conversations convert.
When looking at the e-commerce channel, these same conversations are harder to foster.
I’ve written about conversational commerce before and it’s on the rise, with the expectation that much of our dialogue with brands will be handled by bots and AI in the coming years. With that said, we’re a long way from a place where AI will replace the ever-crucial human interaction in the purchase process. There’s something unique and truly special about that moment of inspiration that comes when one human helps another find the perfect item – the engagement ring, the gift for Mother’s Day, or simply the shoes to match ‘that top’ – it’s something that’s unique to us as people, and for the moment, will remain so.
In the short term, AI will assist in making these processes, conversations and transactions better, through more seamless experiences, but it won’t replace the inspiration brought by associates.
For retailers big and small, navigating toward the future is challenging and that’s why we constantly look for pioneering companies to work with to help bring future-ready solutions to our clients. It’s why in Europe Verizon is working with companies like Hero, a pioneering technology company that’s helping global retailers grow.
Hero’s LIVE shopping technology is helping retailers balance their physical and digital worlds and create compelling Omni-channel experiences, that helps increase sales.
Through a combination of messaging and live video (assisted by AI), Hero’s technology allows retailers to connect the dots between their physical bricks-and-mortar stores and their ecommerce presence and offer consumers the same immersive and expert experiences they get every time they walk into a store, bringing those moments of inspiration to online shoppers and as a result increasing conversion and average order value.
Hero empowers in-store associates through its mobile application to sell more online, by connecting the dots between physical and digital channels
In a world where blanket communications masquerade as hyper-personal outreach, consumers see through this and instead seek deeper connections with brands. The businesses that will win are those who tightly knit together their channels (both online and offline) for a better customer experience and make the barriers to purchase lower for consumers by tapping into the ways people already communicate, through conversation.
The key to success is in empowering in-store associates to what they do best – convert – just this time, online.
Would you like to learn more, let me know.
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You may also want to check out my previous posts.