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Value store associates as brand ambassadors to push out innovations: Tumi exec

BOSTON – An executive from Tumi at eTail East 2016 stressed the importance of offering employees incentives to educate customers on digital platforms and mobile applications to ensure their success.

While marketing and retail executives may be excited and on board for a new mobile or digital product, it is the employees who are face-to-face with shoppers that can really drive adoption. Retailers need to work to turn store associates into brand ambassadors to really push that customer loyalty and brand trust.

“If you are not thinking about this, you do not have a chance; give up, you will never have an omnichannel experience,” said Charlie Cole, chief digital officer at Tumi. “I think that we get so into the tactical beings on how we can fix this and then we forget about human emotion.

“I urge you in your organization to talk about compensation,” he said.

Rewarding good work
When store employees earn commission for in-store sales, but do not receive any reward for drive a customer to a mobile app, the mobile app is likely to fail. It is a drawback for that employee to send the customer to the app, even if it helps out the shopper, because they will be losing money.

Employees that are given an incentive to help consumers with digital platforms and new experiences are more likely to be excited and want to help more.

In terms of mobile retail innovation, retailers should continuously try different innovations and experiences. Retailers can gain a significant amount of insight from projects that fail, and then have more insight to launch something great.

Value of email
The executive noted that retailers should also be valuing the importance of email. In the past, with landlines, customers were often changing their numbers for a variety of reasons like moving, but email addresses hold great value because consumers tend to stick with them for long periods of time.

Retailers can gain data from these email addresses and use them as a link to create a lifelong customer and drive sales.

When it comes to merchandising on mobile devices, retailers should think about their customers’ lifestyles and if they are likely to buy these products on a mobile device. If retailers can add value to a consumer’s life through pushes on mobile, they can see real benefits.

“We, as retailers, have been given a gift – the gift of email addresses,” Mr. Cole said. “Email address is this unbelievable unifying factor.

“You have a lowest common denominator for your customer and most likely it is not going to change; you can link every single thing they do to that person,” he said.