Curating the customer journey through training

By Daniel Todaro, MD of Gekko

When independent stores raise the issue of needing more support from brands to compete against multiple and online retail, there’s no support more valuable than training. Without the sales skills to confidently identify the customer’s needs to sell the benefits of a product that is right for them, you can’t really blame the brand if you aren’t selling more products than forecasted.

Most brands will offer training to your staff and this is free, so if you aren’t taking advantage of it, why not? And if you are, do so some more as it’s there to help you and the brand in equal measure. Allowing your salespeople access to brand ambassadors or training representatives is a positive start to your team’s training journey. They’re there to train your team to develop their core competencies to improve the process of selling consumer electronics. Too often I hear criticism of training teams even before they’ve been allowed to do what they are skilled at doing – training your sales team.

On the whole, every brand will have created modules to be delivered in person or online that are specifically designed to engage with your staff and help them better understand not only the differences in technology options across a range but also the approach, many of which will be incorporating soft skills, how to sell. Those of you who appreciate the value of training and see the benefits it drives to the store’s bottom line should take what the brand has to offer, perhaps even developing this further by incorporating it into your own training program.

Think about what’s important to you and your customers, be it high-end, entry-level, ease-of-use or bells and whistles, curate journeys that your staff can communicate effectively during the sales process. Work with your supplier to develop training that meets the needs of your business; take it beyond generic and make it bespoke to you and your challenges based on your customer profile. By working with the brand ambassador they will be happy to adapt to make it relevant to you and your needs.

I am a true advocate of training as an essential part of great retail experiences because it’s what my organisation does, and research like our Mind the Knowledge Gap Research helps us understand better.

Did you know that:

  • One in 10 shoppers have cancelled a planned, considered purchase due to poor in-store advice. This equates to some £15bn in revenue overall over the past year;
  • Gen Z [those now in their 20s] are most likely to seek out experts;
  • 37 per cent of shoppers in the CE category revealed they would be prepared to spend more if they received excellent and knowledgeable in-store advice;
  • One in four DIY shoppers were so disappointed by the advice they were put off making an expensive purchase altogether, with 11 per cent pulling the plug on the purchase and walking out of the store!

Unsurprisingly, staff training is not only good for your profits but also staff morale. The increased motivation of staff enables them to want to learn and do better in their roles, especially if it’s linked to personal and career development.

Now more than ever, enhancing the customer experience is critical to create theatre in order to take the consumer through the varied steps of the journey from demo to sale. To do this, retailers need to develop the staff’s skill set to be the very best they can be.

A key element of success in store, especially in the considered purchase sector, is the engagement of shoppers with any retail sales advisor. Therefore, for a retailer, the need to have proactive, helpful, skilful, knowledgeable staff, capable of providing a personalised experience, is key in the battle to convert shoppers into customers in your store.

Curating the customer journey through training enables you to enhance the overall in-store experience, complementing your displays and in-store environment to bring it to life as an experience.

If there is one key driver that should be running through a retailer’s training approach, like a stick of rock, it’s that the experience you offer in-store with fully trained and engaged staff is something the online experience can’t ever replicate.