One of the most talked about trends in retail for some time has been “The Omichannel Experience” and how retailers can best give shoppers a consistent brand message across all touch-points. Now that the concept has had time to mature, retailers are realizing the importance of a customer-centric model and are focused on putting the customer first by understanding a shopper’s needs, wants, and behaviors.
Technology has become a force behind a customer-centric approach, particularly at the in-store level. A new platform that has emerged, mACP (mobile associate communication platform) is changing the way in-store sales associates engage with mobile savvy-customers. E-commerce sales continue to boom, but 85% of consumers still prefer shopping in-stores. This gives retailers the opportunity to create a unique brand experience and provide associates the tools to understand what is happening across all sales channels including the brand’s website and social media platforms.
What exactly is mACP? It’s a sophisticated, highly branded, private broadcast network with instant-on, non-streaming video; a self-publishing interface; granular targeting; real-time metrics; field accessibility; instant, internal global broadcasting from an iPad or desktop; and a simple dashboard interface, all and more from a well- established service training expert. Key benefits include:
- It empowers sales associates to become “brand ambassadors” directly impacting the ultimate brand success.
- It keeps associates out of the backroom and on the sales floor
- Maximizes payroll dollars by communicating IBC (in-between customers)
- Correlates business KPIs to communications and training results
- Uses low bandwidth/high-quality video and audio
mACP is possible with the acceptance of iPads and custom apps as a training and communications tool. iPads and apps have become a major force in creating the ultimate customer experience, by creating an engaging and interactive way to train and communicate with sales associates. These programs can recognize each associate, their role, channel and even language. Employees can see what they need to know now to be successful.
App-based digital resources, such as mACP, create a communications environment in which most associates are familiar, comfortable and interested. Studies have found that retail employees are much more likely to interact with peers and employers if communications are digitally delivered through mobile devices.
Another key factor to the success of mACP is the ability to track who has taken the training modules and how much information was absorbed. Leveraging the span of control and providing data by region, district, store and associate allows field managers to be accountable for their team’s performance. Ultimately, this ensures a consistent brand image by maintaining a high level of competence related to the product, customer service, guided selling technique and store operations processes. A knowledgeable, well trained and brand savvy sales force increases customer satisfaction and sales by providing the in-store experience today’s consumer is looking for.
Only those retailers who invest in effective associate training and evaluation strategies, and in providing up-to-the minute, on-floor communications can keep their employees one step ahead of today’s demanding, tech-savvy consumers. It also bridges the online experience and in-store experience by meeting the needs of consumers that have done their shopping or discover online, then go into the store to get help with their final purchase decision.
As a consumer’s journey online continues to grow, retailers will increasingly need to deliver a more engaging brand experience in-store. When customers are walking into a store, they are there for a reason. They want an experience: the ability to touch and feel, immediate gratification with their purchase, and most importantly, that the brand understands them. Retailers that are able to embrace mACP will develop sales associates that inspire shoppers and impact the shopping experience not only in the store, but on multiple channels because they understand what is happening on all platforms.
David Harouche, Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Multimedia Plus