Empowering the Luxury Retail Sales Specialist
By Emily Leavitt
April 4, 2022
When I was growing up, the #1 evening television show was Cheers. Also popular were Knight Rider, The Facts of Life, Who’s The Boss, and Miami Vice. However, when you watched Cheers, you truly felt like every character could be your friend. In fact, the Cheers theme song was aptly named “Where Everybody Knows Your Name.” Fans of the show will remember when Norm entered the bar and everyone yelled, “NORM!” It was such a warm and inviting feeling; I know when I watch it again (and again), the feeling is always the same.
Luxury retailers strive to create a similar friendly and inviting atmosphere when you walk into their stores. They also want their customers to feel like they are having a familiar experience each time, whether in-person or online.
A luxury retailer’s super-power is their ability to retain customers.
I know this because Conversation Couture is a boots-on-the-ground style company and we meet with retail specialists and their managers nearly every day; some of whom have worked for the same luxury brand for 10 or 15 years! They tell us that their longevity and success have been greatly influenced by connecting to their customers. As a result, their customers know them and they know a lot about their customers. For example, I was recently in a luxury boutique and the sales specialist knew every person that walked in, by name. It was impressive.
The luxury retailers who continue to provide growth and developmental opportunities for their employees, not surprisingly, will continue to enjoy outstanding employee retention and its unique value. In “The Value of Online Customer Retention,” I discussed how satisfied, returning luxury customers are not necessarily a retailer’s wealthiest shoppers. But, they certainly are the most valued! Consider these facts:
- Returning customers often pay full price, rather than waiting for a sale.
- They make up just 30% of consumers, but generate about 50% of retail sales and 70% of gross profit margins. (The Globe)
This is why luxury retailers aspire to create strong sales specialist / customer relationships.
Empowering Employees with The New eCommerce Sales Channel
The luxury brands that train their employees to effectively navigate the new eCommerce sales channel, will not only continue to boast high employee retention rates, but retailers will also benefit from the value empowered luxury sales specialists bring to the table. Offering employees a new sales channel plus augmented selling skills, will not only reinforce employee value, but will increase their commissions! This is a win-win for luxury brands.
According to PwC, 60% of CEOs reported that a strong upskilling program positively impacted their company culture. Additionally, training existing employees is easier and less expensive than hiring new talent. There’s no doubt that the retailers who seize the opportunity to invest in upskill training (product knowledge and depth of services) for their existing sales specialists, will ultimately create an exclusive virtual experience for their existing and new customers.
How Conversation Couture Will Help
Conversation Couture understands that moving to an e-commerce space in the luxury retail market may seem daunting at first. It can be challenging to maintain customer relationships and brand consistency. This is why we offer a customized training solution for existing sales associates and managers that is designed, tested, and proven to drive greater sales, improve customer engagement, and sustain brand loyalty within a virtual shopping experience. Yes, it can be taught!