Resetting the Role of the Retail Sales Associate

For me, as for most busy professionals, looking polished matters. But who has time to shop for clothes? Sometimes, I long for the days of the old-fashioned men’s furnishings salesman with his “little black book.” Using notes on his regulars’ sizes and style preferences and his extensive product expertise, he kept his customers well dressed and happy—with minimal effort on their part. Sadly, finding these sales professionals has become more difficult in recent years. My wife points out that I could try the modern-day equivalent—Trunk Club* or a similar online store. But with the added complication (and delay) of shipping, that option just isn’t very appealing—I like the immediacy of shopping locally. Happily, there is hope for shoppers who feel as I do. Technology innovations are now being put to use in-store to enhance the capabilities of sales associates and improve and personalize the shopping experience.

Nearly 82% of current shoppers say that—like me—they prefer to complete their purchases in a brick-and-mortar store.1 This gives brands a significant opportunity to earn loyalty and increase basket. But there’s a complication: fully 70% now research their planned purchases online first.2 The transparency and wide availability of the Internet mean that modern consumers arrive in the store better informed about products than ever before. And when they are in store, they want quick, knowledgeable service. Instead, they frequently find that store staffers lack access even to the same information that they themselves have found online. Without the right tools, sales associates are ill-equipped to offer meaningful advice or assistance. This disappoints shoppers and gives them a reason to go elsewhere. Finding a way to bridge this gap between online and in-store is vital to continued retail success.

Restoring sales associates to their pivotal role can be a key step in solving the problem, and a powerful, new solution from NCR is designed to do exactly that. NCR Sales Advisor* for Windows* on Intel® devices is the first-of-its-kind, modern, little black book—a tool for effective shoulder-to-shoulder selling that enhances the associate/shopper relationship by providing access to each shopper’s history and preferences, synched from all points of sale: online, mobile and in-store. While online channels have tracked customers’ previously purchased items and preferences for some time, store floor associates have lacked this information. Giving them access to shopper history can boost their effectiveness and make brick-and-mortar stores more compelling for shoppers.

Detailed shopper profiles, combined with personalized recommendations and promotions, allow associates to show shoppers that the brand knows who they are and what they like. Real-time access to both customer and inventory information gives them the ability to help customers find what they need quickly and complete transactions on the spot. And powerful guided selling tools and virtual product views equip them to up-sell, cross-sell and increase the number of items in a customer’s basket.

Here’s one example of how NCR Sales Advisor can transform sales associates from clerks into valued consultants:

Now, when a customer tries on clothing in the store, the associate who hangs the clothes in the fitting room notes sizes, colors and styles and then scurries off to find items that might go with. The results are hit or miss, at best. With the use of recommendation engines within the Sales Advisor app, the associate (and the process) could be much more effective—and efficient—leading to significant basket uplift and increased customer satisfaction.

Using the power of eCommerce, flexible, comprehensive NCR Sales Advisor helps brands know their customers better. It equips sales associates to add value to the shopping experience while driving revenue for the business.

1 Christopher Donnelly and Renato Scaff, “Who are the Millennial shoppers? And what do they really want?,” Outlook: Accenture’s Journal of High-Performance Business, 2013, https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-outlook-who-are-millennial-shoppers-what-do-they-really-want-retail

2 Intel-Merkle Digital Shopper Behavior, 2014.

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Michael Taylor

About Michael Taylor

Senior Marketing Manager at Intel. Mike Taylor is a senior marketing manager with 23 years of experience at Intel. In his current role, Taylor is focused on delivering innovative mobile solutions to the retail vertical segment. His extensive experience includes working with leading companies across hardware OEMs, with software developers, and with industry groups across numerous audience segments. During his career at Intel, Taylor has repeatedly led feature-rich products to market through all sales channels. His strong industry marketing perspective includes key strategic engagements with industry leaders. Taylor started his career at Intel as a small business program marketing manager and subsequently went on to become a consumer platform manager, a smart TV platform manager, and a retail and enthusiast marketing strategist, prior to his current role. His specialties include online marketing demand generation programs, consumer electronics marketing, B2B and B2C product launches, and technology adoption. Taylor graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor’s degree in marketing, and from the Oregon Graduate Institute with MS of management, marketing. You can follow him @MATaylor67 on Twitter.