The mass closure of stores due to the Covid-19 pandemic further changed the role of the store associate, pushing these employees to adapt to a new way of interacting with consumers and selling products online. While the concept of “clienteling” isn’t necessary new itself, the decrease in in-store foot traffic has put retailers in the mindset where they know they have to make up the difference in possible sales elsewhere.
The shifting mindset has brought a windfall for one company seeking to promote clienteling across retail. Salesfloor, a mobile application designed for store associates to make the online shopping process more personal and conversational, has seen a 250 percent year-over-year increase in new clients largely due to the increase in e-commerce spending and shoppers’ hesitance to return to stores.
The Salesfloor app has enabled store associates to stay in front of their customers while stores were closed during the pandemic and has continued to drive value for these retailers amid sluggish foot traffic even as stores reopened.
“When stores closed, many of our clients equipped their remote employees with Salesfloor to enable them to continue serving online customers. Now that stores have reopened, there is still a pressing need to bridge the online-offline gap,” Ben Rodier, chief client officer at Salesfloor, said in a statement. “The average associate now serves 94 online customers per week, and we’re seeing sales conversion rates between 12 percent and 15 percent.”
Salesfloor has touted even bigger numbers than this, saying that associates using the platform have driven a total $1.5 billion in sales since the platform launched in 2013. Since the start of the pandemic, the number of Salesfloor users has nearly doubled globally, with 45,000 store associates now leveraging the platform to serve customers across all channels.
In March, the company offered retailers free access to its mobile clienteling platform to help the industry cope with the pandemic. The company provided additional end-user support for retailers that were helping associates transition to remote access, as opposed to laying them off or putting them on furlough.
Retailers have also seen their online sales through Salesfloor quadruple compared to pre-pandemic data, the company said. Salesfloor claims that retailers using the app during the pandemic achieved their first million dollars in sales on the platform 75 percent faster compared to retailers that launched before April.
Platform data from the second and third quarters shows a sustained increase of up to 700 percent more online interactions between shoppers and store associates, including through channels including live chat, e-mail, text messaging and appointment requests.
Salesfloor already partners with retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue, buybuy Baby, Bloomingdale’s and Chico’s, but its latest partnerships include fashion retailer Buckle and Canadian department store Holt Renfrew, among others. Launching this year, these brands will use Salesfloor’s Xperience Apps and Xperience Clienteling features such as video chat, appointment setting, live chat, email, text messaging, associate storefronts and customer insights.
Features such as video chat, live chat, appointment management and event management are part of the company’s recently released post-Covid bundle, which could be combined with Salesfloor’s other features, including mobile POS and other available assisted selling apps.
Shoppers initiate a live voice or video chat through Salesfloor Connect on a retailer’s e-commerce site, where they already have the option to connect with a local store associate via live chat, e-mail, SMS and appointment request.
The appointment management feature enables associates to create and manage appointments and send the invite to customers through any digital channel. Appointments can be in store, over the phone, on live chat or video chat. Event management allows associates to create in store or virtual events, invite selected customers via all Salesfloor digital channels and capture RSVPs.
The benefit of having all these channels integrated into one is that it gives the shopper the choice to interact with a sales associate on their most preferred channel. Just as the outreach is tailored to each customer, so should the communication channel, Salesfloor says.
Existing Salesfloor clients are also expanding their use of the platform, including Selfridges Group, which is bringing Salesfloor to Irish department store Arnotts after having success at its sister department stores Brown Thomas and Holt Renfrew. Holt Renfrew and Hudson’s Bay will launch French-language versions of their Salesfloor platforms in the fall.
Currently, Salesfloor is voting on its “Associates of the Year Awards”, which recognize exceptional performance by store managers and associates. Voting ends Sept. 24 and finalists will be announced Oct. 22.