Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 13

Retail associates need to know

Fifty years ago, the retail associate
knew more about products than customers, and that was one of the key ways to
service customers—bring me your question and I will give you an answer.
Today it’s different. Thanks to online
stores, social media and mobile computing, customers have as much—and sometimes more—knowledge about products
than retail associates. The retail associate now has to have answers to expert
questions and the facility to carry on an
expert conversation about the products
in the store.
Retail used to be responsive; now it’s conversational. And the key to good retailing is
adaptive, knowledgeable retail associates.
“The staff is way more important because of the customer’s increased expectations,” says Graff. He says that
more retailers are spending more today
on customer service and the customer
experience than ever before. Competition is fierce and “service and experience
must be higher.”

Debit or credit?
Decades after the arrival of the credit card, the debit card
gave customers another choice at the cash register. Retailers
adapted again to serve customers because if customers
want it, customers get it. Today, Canadians use debit more
than any other country in the world.

Service through a browser
Online shopping took retail outside of the store. Now
customer service happens through a browser. Customers
wanted more product choice, 24-hour service, easy returns
and more. Retailers adapted to serve by opening online stores.

Knowing the customer better
With online shopping and more sophisticated and easier-touse data collection tools, retailers developed detailed profiles
of customers. Savvy retailers used loyalty programs and
customer relationship management systems to treat each
customer like an individual. Personalized service was back.

The shopping experience
Customers wanted a social experience when they shopped. To
serve customers what they wanted, retailers made their stores
the place to be: the right lighting, the right events, the right
music, the right coffee, the right products, the right displays.

Let’s talk
Future shifts

Retail associates will see their roles
change again. It’s almost guaranteed given
the nature of our technological world. The
retail associate behind the cash register of
50 and 60 years ago now needs to be the
dynamic, mobile product enthusiast on
the floor with the tablet computer.
Canada is becoming more urbane,
stores are shrinking while at the same
time growing online, and consumers are
becoming increasingly involved in the
design, development and marketing of
the things they purchase. Retail associates will be key to customer service in the
future—they will be the ones to deliver
the superior in-store experiences that
make the store the place to be.
For resources to help you and your teams
better service your customers, visit Retail
Council of Canada’s resource page on its
website www.retailcouncil.org/training.
You can also visit the Canadian Retail
Institute’s website www.retaileducation.ca
for training programs and more.

The advent of social media gave retailers a whole new stratum
of customer service. Conversations with customers continued
outside of the store, online and in forums that reached far
beyond the neighbourhoods where retailers operated.

I know more than you
Thanks to online stores, social media and mobile computing,
customers have as much—and sometimes more—knowledge
about products than retailers. Customer service now involves
a kind of product knowledge IQ test. Retailers who make the
sale can keep up with the customer’s product intelligence.

I’m going mobile
Smartphones forced retailers to change how they serve
customers again. Customers want to purchase through
their phones, browse online stores on their phones, talk to
retailers through their phones, and everything else you can
do with a mobile computer. If customers want it, service
oriented retailers are finding ways to deliver it.

Into the great wide open
Despite the amount that’s invested in analytics and research,
attempting to predict future changes in customer service
is a futile act. However, it’s safe to say that as e-commerce
continues to grow in Canada, technological developments
continue to advance, and even more payment options
become available to the customer, the need for exceptional
retail associates with superior knowledge of the industry, the
brand, competitors and the product will become greater.

www.retailcouncil.org/cdnretailer | spring 2013 | canadian retailer |

13


http://www.retailcouncil.org/training http://www.retaileducation.ca http://www.retailcouncil.org/cdnretailer

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013

PUBLISHER’S DESK
RETAIL CURRENTS
EAT WELL CAMPAIGN TO EDUCATE FAMILIES ABOUT HEALTHY LIVING
THE EVOLUTION OF CUSTOMER SERVICE
THE TARGET IMPACT
THE RISKS OF NEGLECTING THE IN-STORE EXPERIENCE
MENTORING TOMORROW’S TALENT
RECRUITING TOP TALENT FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS
UNPACKING SHOWROOMING
SUPPLEMENTING FOR SUCCESS IN THE CANADIAN MARKET
ADVERTISER'S INDEX
RETAIL QUICK TIPS
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - ebelly1
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - ebelly2
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - cover1
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - cover2
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 3
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - PUBLISHER’S DESK
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 5
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - RETAIL CURRENTS
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 7
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 8
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 9
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - EAT WELL CAMPAIGN TO EDUCATE FAMILIES ABOUT HEALTHY LIVING
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 11
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - THE EVOLUTION OF CUSTOMER SERVICE
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 13
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 14
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 15
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - THE TARGET IMPACT
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 17
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 18
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 19
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 20
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 21
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - THE RISKS OF NEGLECTING THE IN-STORE EXPERIENCE
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 23
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 24
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 25
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 26
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - MENTORING TOMORROW’S TALENT
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 28
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 29
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 30
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 31
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - RECRUITING TOP TALENT FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 33
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 34
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 35
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - UNPACKING SHOWROOMING
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 37
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 38
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 39
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - SUPPLEMENTING FOR SUCCESS IN THE CANADIAN MARKET
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 41
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 42
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 43
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 44
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - ADVERTISER'S INDEX
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - RETAIL QUICK TIPS
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 47
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 48
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 49
Canadian Retailer - Spring 2013 - 50
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