The New Profile of the Store Associate
The role of the store associate continues to evolve. This new profile is entrepreneurial and adaptive, selling to anybody anywhere. Brands with associates that build bonds versus being transactional only can see shopper value increase. Discussing this buzzy topic, Retail Refined host Melissa Gonzalez welcomed two experts, Bob Phibbs, Founder of the Retail Doctor, and Oscar Sachs, CEO and Co-Founder of Salesfloor.
Phibbs has a rich retail history as a coach, author, and speaker. He launched SalesRX virtual training platform for in-store associates. Sachs is a retail digital expert who founded Salesfloor to enable customers to shop online directly with a local store or associate.
“Retail had to transform during the digital revolution, and movement is faster. Rethinking the role of associates selling across channels is critical,” Sachs said.
This omnichannel strategy started years before the pandemic and shifted the associate to someone that engages and builds relationships. Sachs noted, “They have a connection marketing doesn’t.”
Phibbs, however, noted that the changing job scope included more tasks on associates that aren’t treated well. “The dark side is expecting people to just take it. When we give them training and know what success looks like, they can thrive. You have to fix the culture to take care of the employee and the customer.”
Phibbs remarked that many are missing the soft skills to pivot to a relationship.
Sachs agreed that training is critical but so is attribution. “You have to align incentives with behavior. The web can’t be a competitor. No matter where they buy if the store served the customer, the store and associate get credit.”