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Too many articles these days are telling us that Retail stores are dead. Come on – really! It is not dead but it is in need of evolution. The truth is that retail has moved from a Buyer to a Seller model, and those working in retail are struggling to make the change.

With a more informed customer, readily accessible products on the internet, and an innate belief that ‘whatever you are selling I can buy it somewhere else and probably cheaper’, leads to a totally different requirement from the retail store to make sales. Retailers hae to evolve beyond product, place, price and promotion.

The immediate answer has been to reduce rents - either through renegotiation or what is becoming all too common a CVA. Yes - costs and overheads need to be managed, but this is old retail thinking, the bigger answer sits in the people part of the business.

The people working in the stores can longer be passive or reactive – they need to be proactive and driven – not by the words service and experience – but by the word sales. Sales advisors have been hiding behind the word service meaning be polite, know your products, answer any questions the customer has,  and keep the store looking good.  For decades the best producing stores have been those who have naturally gifted sales people, unfortunately, these are few and far between. 

Saving retail stores will come down to the store advisors ability to connect with the customer, build trust and rapport, and emotionally engage them into the sale.  This will require the customer service and customer facing staff to be able to connect with the customers emotional and social brain. Neuroscience shows that 95% of customers decision making is made in the ‘emotional irrational brain’. Giving the customer information about the product and offering discount percentages are just not working or connecting with that ‘emotional brain’. They want more from the engagement, otherwise they will simply buy online!.

The move from some of the big box format to the new boutique style is proving testament to this. They are swapping huge stock with countless product lines – to personal connectivity and interaction. This allows the sales advisor to influence the customer on a whole new level – not features and benefits – but who do I trust and who do I want to give my money to.

A recent survey by Salecology has shown that 79% of customers are willing to pay extra for that level of fellowship– circa 8 - 10% more.

The route map for success in retail will be to raise the level of Emotional Engagement (EQ) in the team. The advisors ability to engage and connect with customers, get into conversations with them, and influence them to want to buy. Passive Reactive behaviour from the Sales Advisors, waiting to serve the customer, is no longer viable. They Need to Sell.

Salecology has proven that this works, and has helped retailers, organisation and businesses drive better connections with customers, delivering increase in conversation and ATV.

Darren Bezani

Chief Salecologist






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