went shopping the other day through New York's iconic Soho neighborhood to try out some of these amazing online brands opening their first stores. I tried on something almost everywhere I went and loved several things, but I knew I would be doing more walking that day and the price point of these stores also had me wanting to take a second look online before buying anything.

In every store, I was shocked by the associates inability to take my information and send me over the items I had tried on. In 3 of the stores, I was simply told to go to their website and search for the product's name. Some went and grabbed their iPad to show me exactly where to click on the website to find the products I tried on. The best service I was able to come across left me with a branded notecard with the size and style I had preferred HANDWRITTEN on it. Mind you, every associate I interacted with was pleasant, informative, and kind.

These same stores all offer up to 20% discounts online if I simply gave them my email through that platform. Why are these online companies working so hard to capture information online but putting in little effort or ability to do so offline?

Here is my simple 3 part solution to this seemingly broken piece of the retail business model.

Training your associates

The first and most logical step stores can do to improve their offline information capture is to better train associates to do so.

  1. First and foremost, your employee needs to be friendly and knowledgeable enough to have a pleasant in-store interaction with your customers
  2. Be sure your associates are aware of the benefits a customer gains (such as curated offers, exclusive discounts, etc.) if they create a profile. Show them why a shopper who has expressed interest in the brand will be happy to share their email.
  3. Empower your associates to send an email or text themselves, such as through commission or in-store competitions. This will give your associates a logical reason to collect emails. They can follow up with the products the shopper tried on that day and say thank you for the visit.

Incentivize the process

Associates can have the best training, but still lack the motivation to put in the extra effort. Many stores already offer in-store sales incentives, but have limited incentives for associates to drive online sales after the visit. An omni-channel CRM platform and simple attribution methods can track what sales are coming as a result of associate interaction. Having this information will allow you to run a competition focused on using in-store interaction to drive online sales.

Use the right tools

Once an associate has gotten over their fear of asking for information in store, it's important the right tools are in place for them to do so. Endear is an all-in-one tool that allows your associates to capture information and act on that information with personalized outreach.

The biggest problem with retail right now is an inefficient use of resources. Stores offer upwards of 30% discounts online just to capture the email of a would-be customer. Yet in store, retailers have put nothing in place to create this same process for the customers who are even more likely to convert in that moment.

Start optimizing your store and taking advantage of your most underutilized resource (your associates) with Endear's CRM and Clienteling App.

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