Retail channel surfing (Implications for sales, customer service, and team morale)


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Never forget: Your customers are likely to use the different sales channels you offer in different ways. Some of your customers may buy exclusively over the web but visit your brick and mortar stores for a tactile pre-purchase interaction with your products. Customers may, say, visit the Orvis store once a year, but always place their Orvis orders online.*

If your physical stores are taking on this role of sampling locations where a customer touches and feels products for later purchases on your website, it’s not necessarily a negative for your brand.

However, it does need to be planned for. It can be sabotaged quickly, for example, by overly aggressive onsite salespeople, or it can be enhanced by discount- or QR codes (If you’re not up on your alphabet soup: QR codes are those two-dimensional barcodes that take you, via scanner, directly to a specific website) that let web or mobile purchases track back to store visits.

This may seem like an obvious insight, but its implications extend to how you design your compensation systems, and, frankly, to the tenor of the conversations you should be having with your people who work in various channels. Has the “sales staff” at your physical location now become essentially a sampling team providing advance work for sales you will later make via the Web or mobile devices? If so, offering commission based on aggressive sales targets — and lambasting your personnel when they fail to “make their numbers” — is not going to serve your company, or the customers your employees ultimately take their frustrations out, very well.

* (Or, in the case of a grocery store, the balance may lean more or less in the opposite direction.)

Portions of this article appeared in a somewhat different form in Micah Solomon’s High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service (click link for a free chapter), © 2012 Micah Solomon (AMACOM Books). All rights reserved.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Micah Solomon
Micah Solomon is a customer service consultant and trainer who works with companies to transform their level of customer service and customer experience. The author of five books, his expertise has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, NBC and ABC television programming, and elsewhere. "Micah Solomon conveys an up-to-the minute and deeply practical take on customer service, business success, and the twin importance of people and technology." –Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder.


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