Over the past few years, we have seen many different businesses and industries change at the hands of technology. Companies have rapidly adopted the use of these technologies into their everyday infrastructure in order to keep up with the competition as well as changing market and real world conditions. One industry that has seen massive amounts of digital disruption is retail.
With large sites like Amazon and other companies putting their focus on their online store, or the development of branded mobile apps, the retail industry has shifted, and the brick and mortar stores are feeling the pressure. However, the physical retail locations still have something valuable to offer that the online stores and Amazon cannot: direct interactions with customer service personnel.
More and more brands are upping the ante when it comes to direct and personalized customer service, and it shows with the investments they’re making in their people.
Bigtincan, our sales enablement platform, has been adopted by retail organizations like Nike, Guess, Paige, and other retail brands to enhance both customer and employee experience. It does this by:
- Helping retail sales associates get access to the latest product content right from the floor.
- Helping brands implement modern, just-in-time training methodologies that are far more effective at training retail employees than old-fashioned training techniques.
- Letting managers track in-the-field progress and task completion of sales reps.
If you’d like to know more about how Bigtincan would work for your retail organization, book a Bigtincan demo — or just keep reading!
A centralized location where retail sales reps can find product information within seconds
Retail is characterized by lots of products that change frequently. Keeping up with the latest product information and updates like promotions or discounts on constantly changing product lines can be difficult for on-floor sales staff. The traditional way of keeping reps up to date is by either having a printed catalog of products with relevant information or emailing them information packages every month or every two weeks, which the store manager has to then print or do huddles every day to remind reps. These content management methods are time-consuming, unstructured, and tedious.
Also, regional or globally dispersed sales teams that sell in-person on retail floors may not have corporate emails. Even if they do, there’s no guarantee that they would read through the information sent to them by email.
Because of this, retail sales staff often miss out on recent updates, spend a lot of time looking for the right content or ask their colleagues or sales managers about new information.
When employees don’t find the product info they need, they use old or outdated content. This results in poor customer experience as sales associates aren’t able to find the right information to assist the buyers or have to leave the floor to find something specific and make customers wait.
Employees should be equipped with on-demand access to any type of content, right from the sales floor, so that they can answer any customer questions without having to leave the customer.
Bigtincan offers a centralized location where retail employees can access information right from their phones without leaving the floor
The Bigtincan Hub acts as a single source of all product content that employees can easily refer to. It provides on-demand access to around 150+ types of media content like HTML, PDFs, audio, video, and even AR/VR.
It indexes and surfaces the most updated content like price guides or style guides to the employees regardless of where that content lives (even if a brand uses different systems or repositories to store content). This, in turn, helps associates be more helpful, attentive, answer customer queries quickly, and close deals faster.
There’s very little learning curve for sellers when they start using Bigtincan. It is designed intuitively so employees can start using it right after they log in to their system.
Better corporate to retail store communication: Direct notifications, latest updates, and daily briefings right on employees’ phones
When heading into the store, customers may have an idea of exactly what they’re looking for, but many times they go in with a style in mind and not the exact product. Online stores use artificial intelligence to check their recent searches and the items they’ve interacted with to serve customers other similar options, but that can be difficult for an in-store associate.
Often, headquarters or the corporate offices of retail brands don’t have an easy way to communicate regularly with the store managers, associates, and frontline leaders. In our experience, many retail organizations still rely on cork boards and sticky notes to disseminate information.
Communication is characterized by a “chain of command” sequence: from corporate headquarters to the store manager, then from the store manager to the team leader(s) on duty, and finally from the team leader to the associates (shown in the image below).
This leads to disconnected, inconsistent, and slow communication that doesn’t help them sell better and also causes high employee turnover because the staff feels disengaged from the company.
With Bigtincan, companies are able to bridge that gap and ensure that their sales associates have all of that information at their fingertips.
Bigtincan allows the headquarters or marketing teams to send daily briefings and notifications at the beginning of each shift to their associates through the mobile app and via its in-app messaging (no emails needed). This includes the latest promotions, products, training, market trends, daily notifications on the latest content, articles, and other information, which streamline the internal communication between associates and management while keeping the retail staff up to date.
Merchandisers can also send images of how to display products and share best practices for store setups and layouts to sales associates and store managers instead of potentially hard-to-follow written instructions.
Finally, content can be targeted to specific individuals, stores, regions, or custom groups. For example, a store associate from Asia may require a different merchandising guide compared to a store associate in the Middle East.
Powerful search to locate exact product information
Despite technological reach, many retailers still use printed handouts, documents, and in-store computers (where they have to create hundreds of folders) to store an often massive amount of product content. When there are thousands of files, looking for a particular file in a complex web of folders or sheets becomes hard and a massive time sink, especially when the products are changing quickly.
Bigtincan’s advanced search helps employees find sales content within a few seconds on their devices, right from the sales floor. With Bigtincan’s search and suggest functionality, employees can get advanced content suggestions, not just an exact search result for their query.
For example, if an employee searches for “Product A Catalog 2022 Version 1.0”, Bigtincan can proactively suggest “Product A Catalog 2022 Version 2.0”.
Additionally, it also intelligently recommends other supplementary material related to the search— in this example, if the retail store sells furniture, Bigtincan can suggest “Product A Home LookBook” that shows how Product A might look in different places within a house.
Bigtincan also does full-text searches, which can help associates find very specific information that’s inside a file, not just in the filename, in real-time. It also analyzes customer’s CRM data: When a customer enters the store, an associate can use the information from the customer’s history, buying preferences, and style to help connect them with certain products within the store and even hook them up with a promotion or sale.
Rather than relying on each associates’ individual knowledge of “style,” the technology helps to match customers with exactly what they are looking for.
Finally, all these features work offline, so even when sales reps in the store have spotty internet signals, they can still find the information they need. This helps sellers assist their customers better with the latest information and have them come for repeat purchases.
A custom-designed mobile app that reflects your brand
With Bigtincan, retailers can create a fully customized user interface, down to the pixel that exactly matches their brands. These custom interfaces look like they were built by and for your brand.
In the above example images, the first image is how the Bigtincan app looks by default. And the second image is an example of how it can be modified to look like a retail company’s homepage where sales reps can review promotions and extract information about any product required at any time thus speeding up their sales processes.
For store reps and managers, a tailor-made interface means all the assets they need can be placed on the home screen in such a way that they are discoverable to the users in a minimum number of clicks. For example, a t-shirt retailer can have short 1-minute videos released every month on the homepage on the new range of t-shirts arriving that month. This can help the store’s staff (1) see it when it comes out and (2) easily refer to it from their mobile device anytime afterward to review.
You can also create collaboration tools like a chat feature that allows sellers to chat with other colleagues or managers within the store or lets managers chat with corporate or other managers at different stores, all right within the app. In addition, employees can create discussion groups where they can learn information quickly and remain updated about any product details.
Finally, a custom designed app that looks native to the retail brand also helps provide a consistent brand experience if and when consumers see the app. This can happen when sales associates on the retail floor search for a particular product with the customer looking over their shoulder or even turn their phone or tablet to the customer and ask: is this what you’re looking for? Brands for whom it’s important for all customer interactions to have a consistent look and feel confident that Bigtincan can give them a retail enablement solution that looks custom designed for the brand down to the pixel.
On-demand training (that can be tracked) so that sales associates remember what they learn and are exposed to best practices
Dealing with an associate in a store that isn’t prepared for a situation or has the ability to answer your question can be a quick way to lose a customer’s business. Industries change, customer needs change, new products are launched, and it’s up to the associate to recognize and adapt to those changes as they occur.
Staying up to speed with the industry itself, but also continuing to develop their overall skill set ensures that sales associates will be sufficiently equipped to provide the customer with a positive experience and hopefully, get them to return in the future.
Traditional retail sales training methods require hour-long training videos, reviewing lengthy recorded calls, or going through documents that don’t work efficiently. This is because they require retail employees to memorize a lot of product information and recall it weeks or even months later. This ‘data-dump’ type of training where employees are made to huddle around a single PC in a dark back room is boring and studies have shown that it reduces retention.
Better than the “train now, recall later” method: Microlearning, just-in-time learning, and gamification
Bigtincan’s training is centered around the concept of microlearning. Microlearning helps in information retention by presenting information in 3-5 minute micro sessions, often paired with practical exercises. Because training sessions are short, retention is better.
Plus, the Bigtincan Learning training platform is designed mobile-first and works identically offline, as most retail stores don’t receive proper internet connectivity.
Microlearning helps sales leaders and even star associates create short snippets of videos (they just have to open the Bigtincan Learning app and press the start button) where they can answer commonly asked questions and best practices to help other sales associates.
This kind of learning isn’t just useful for associates but also for customers— the associates can just open their app and show customers a relevant video or image for an answer.
In addition, users are free to learn through these training videos anytime, anywhere. So, for example, when they have a lull time at the store, they can just take a small training video to make the most of that time. Also, instead of going through the entire training of a POS system at one go before hitting the sales floor, employees can complete one level, practice on that, and then move to the next level.
To learn more about Bigtincan Learning and how it incorporates microlearning and mobile-friendly design, read our articles below:
- Best Mobile LMS: 4 of the Best Options for Enterprise Organizations and SMEs
- The Best Enterprise LMS 2.0 for Training and Knowledge Retention
In cases where an unexpected question from customers throws off your sales associates, they shouldn’t have to note down that question and tell the customer, “I will get back to you on this later.” This can be avoided with just-in-time learning.
With Bigtincan, employees can just type the query in their Bigtincan app — the search feature then filters through all your organization’s presentations, training PDFs, catalogs, and surfaces the right answer— just in time. This feature works across smartphones, tablets, and laptops both on and offline.
Finally, gamification in learning involves giving points to sales associates who complete training content, offering competitions between stores, and using leaderboards to enhance employee engagement.
Your organization can choose to define prize points or metrics: some organizations even offer physical prizes to incentivize their learning journey and make it more engaging.
Bigtincan also offers in-depth insights into seller engagement and participation levels. This information can help trainers come up with new gamification processes by seeing which methods are working the best. In addition, managers can receive alerts in case there are any employees who aren’t able to keep up with their training.
For more information on Bigtincan Learning and how it helps better employees’ training compared to traditional methods, read this article: How to Train a Sales Team on Products: Use Modern Software, Not Old-Fashioned Training Techniques.
Task management so that store managers can track and monitor on-floor employees’ progress
Throughout the day-to-day activity of an in-store sales associate, different tasks can get lost, quotas can be missed, time can be mismanaged, and the overall experience can suffer because of it. Corporate or district managers often assign tasks to store associates, and there’s no quick way to determine if the tasks are completed or not.
In order to achieve overall success, in-store retailers need to empower their associates with the information and tools to make the shopping experience indispensable. For companies to stay ahead of the competition and constantly able to adapt to the changing retail industry, it’s imperative that they invest in their employees and empower them with the technology to help them overachieve.
Digitized task management is one such feature of Bigtincan that helps retail associates keep track of their daily tasks in a single place (i.e., they don’t have to write anything down on paper and no need to pin up ‘weekly tasks’ on the bulletin board!)
With Bigtincan’s custom internal dashboards, retailers are able to see exactly what tasks are expected of them, where they stand with their quotas, and allow them to monitor their time to ensure that each shift is performed to the best of their ability.
Use Bigtincan’s personalized onboarding to modernize your retail operations
When you engage with Bigtincan, our team typically provides hands-on onboarding to implement your sales enablement strategy. Our customer success team ensures that your employees and stores have a smooth transition to our platform. We guide you through setting up the Bigtincan app on your store’s devices, transforming your paper training into a digital one, and rolling out the new training programs.
We speak from an experience of doing this for tens of thousands of stores and can offer the same to your brand.
If you’d like to see Bigtincan Retail in action at your organization, book a demo.
Download Bigtincan’s eBook: Transform Your Customer’s Shopping Experience to learn more about adapting to the ever-changing retail environment to delight customers through Sales Enablement.