Retailers, do your store employees consider your Web site an asset or a competitor?
Let me guess, your employees gain commissions and store bonuses placed on sales volume, right? But are they rewarded if they refer business to your Web site? If not, where’s the motivation?
I dicussed this in a post called “An Open Letter To Cavenders.” A few weeks later I heard from someone who worked in a retail chain where store associates totally ignored their Web site. Their incentives are solely based on in-store sales, in fact they frequently tell their sister stores they’re out of stock when they’re called looking for stock for a customer.
In today’s soft economy, management needs to take a holistic look at sales. They need an online strategy that seamlessly compliments their in-store strategy (and vice-versa). Rewards and recognition should be changed to encourage referrals to the company Web site. Further, they need to communicate to all employees the importance of every sale, no matter where it originates.
Let’s say I walk into a store to buy a shirt. I find one in stock, but it’s the only one in my size. I buy it and walk out, but I was really looking to buy three, four, or five shirts. I leave your store frustrated even though you’ve made a sale.
But what if I walk into your store where a helpful associate sells me that shirt and then listens to me say that I was looking for more. She points me to a kiosk or computer and pulls up that merchandise on your Web site. She inputs her employee number and a code giving me 10% off my online purchase so that I won’t leave the store and go to a competitor. I’m given free shopping for store delivery (it’ll come in your regular shipment so your cost is negligible).
I’d walk out of that store a satisfied customer with loyalty intact, if not strengthened. Your associate might even be able to cross-sell me either store or online merchandise.
Or you could just keep on doing things the old way in which case my loyalty to you will be damaged and I’ll wind up buying the shirts from your competitors.