I’ve been working with retailers for over a decade and I see a common struggle: Sales associates are given a list of items to be done during the day—important things, such as cleaning, merchandising etc. Although they may diligently focus on the items on their ‘to do’ list, they may do that at a cost: Ignoring or underserving their customers.

You’ve no doubt experienced this: A customer walks in the door and the associate remains absorbed re-arranging the merchandise on the shelf or marking new price tags. The customer wanders around the store, picks through a few items, and then leaves. The sales associate missed the opportunity to engage—and that impacts conversion rate and sales.

A clean, well merchandised store is important, but if you want to drive brand loyalty and same store sales, your associates need to do more than clean and stock—they need to connect. How can you focus your sales associates’ attention so their store produces better conversion rates and same store sales numbers? 

Leverage your location-level data to understand ‘what’s most important’

Almost every brand collects data about how their locations adhere to brand standards (mystery shopping or audit), what customers think about the brand itself and the experiences they have shopping either online or in stores via customer experience surveys. The key to understanding which of those behaviors most impacts sales is to analyze your customer—that data is worth gold when bumped up against financial data for the store, including sales, loyalty card data or through location-based data, like traffic counters, dwell time, and conversion rates.

Once all that data is assembled, the analysis should focus on pinpointing the critical drivers of conversion and/or average transaction size. As an example, in one study conducted by Market Force for a specialty retailer, analysis of customer experience data identified six “helpful acts” for sales associates to perform that showed a positive impact on customer loyalty. Once we added sales and transactional data to the analysis, we found that three of those six ‘helpful acts’ in combination directly impacted not only customer satisfaction but also conversion rates and average basket size. Those locations that executed well on the six drivers had a 6% higher conversion rate than those that did not.

Now that you know what’s important, train your teams to drive customer loyalty and revenues

By creating the predictive model that shows which sales associate behaviors most impact loyalty and conversion rates, you will empower your teams to focus on those specific behaviors that matter most. Once you have trained your teams, relentlessly measure execution of these behaviors—and watch your conversion rates and sales rise.

Kelly Massey serves as vertical practice lead for retail brands. She works with clients ranging from home improvement retailers to iconic fashion brands, focusing on how to improve same store sales and conversion rates at every location. 

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