New-York based Luxury Institute (646-792-2669, luxuryinstitute.com) interviewed top-performing, in-store sales associates across top-tier luxury brands. Milton Pedraza, ceo, Luxury Institute, cites seven areas for store improvement gleaned from the study. Below is a summary of his findings.
1. Create more effective training to increase sales.
Many associates reveal they learned how to build client relationships from the behavior of parents and mentors. According to them, current sales straining is dehumanizing. They want brands to acceletate and update it.
2. Collect critical client feedback to increase sales.
Clients provide feedback about products, but this intelligence is rarely collected systematically or acted upon. Brands must listen to customers to adapt products to their needs. Get customer-centric or get left behind.
3. Stop the spamming or lose customers.
Well-intentioned marketing teams are constantly sending irrelevant communications. That deters clients from providing data and associates from inputting it into the database to protect their relationships, resulting in massive data loss. Brands need effective rules for the commercial team that align with relationship-building.
4. Stop constant product promotions and discounts.
Items go on sale too quickly or are priced inconsistenly in other channels. Clients wait for a sale to purchase. Associates stay in clients’ good graces by encouragimg them to wait for a sale, which affects credibility and earnings adersely. Brands need better pricing judgment, and more exclusive and no-discount signature products.
5. Execute store technology basics brilliantly.
Often, headquarters staff is enamored with the “wow” factor technology while ignoring basics, like outdated, slow inventory access systems. Ominchannel access is still not a reality at most brands. It can be a deal breaker for V.I.P. clients who shop in-store for the experience only to find it’s faster to shop online. Tech is a critical asset that must enhance client relationships.
6. Marketing needs to include local initiatives.
Top sales associates are active professionally on social media. However, the wealthiest, highest-potential clients are less active than aspirational consumers, fearful of potential damage to identity and privacy. Associates request more funds for rewarding special clients, creating exclusive events and local business development.
7. Top performers need flexible schedules to balance professional and personal lives and thrive.
One-size-fits-all in scheduling and compensation is not the way to maximize sales talent. Flexibility in those areas maximizes productivity. Why can’t in-store retail catch up to work style innovations in other fields?
Pedraza estimates that the negative effects of all seven missed opportunities results in about 20 to 30 percent of sales lost annually in luxury stores alone.