Why retail staff are as important as customers
Keeping control of the brand in the “final-mile” is the key to retail excellence
Luxury brands arguably know more about the power of a well-crafted brand than most. In fact, last year they collectively spent in excess of $10bn on advertising alone.
But while the power of an expertly executed ad campaign can create the demand, what about the “final mile” – the in-store experience that can make or break a sale?
While many brands have their own international network of stores, most also retail through department store concessions, or even through franchised partners; and it’s across this disparate retail network that the brand values so fiercely guarded by the advertising teams can be let down in an instant.
“Too often, the consumers are better educated about a brand and its products than the store associates,” observed Ned Gammel, Concrete’s Vice President of North America, at this year’s Future Stores conference in Miami. “That’s not what any brand wants. In fact, the store associate should be an absolute extension of the brand.”
There’s lots to be said for increasing retail staff engagement in the brand vision, and enabling them to successfully deliver onit. Better in-store execution across visual merchandising, faster training times, increased sales performance, and perhaps most important of all – greater staff loyalty.
Bridging the communications gap
Unfortunately, for many brands there’s a huge gap in the way they communicate to their customers, and the way they are able to communicate and bring the vision to life for retail staff.
It’s not for want of trying. The challenge of high staff attrition, complex retail networks and geographically distant brand headquarters, make this “final mile” experience difficult for any brand to manage.
This is compounded by often out-of-date communication and collaboration technology. Legacy intranets with stale content, or using email to manage tasks and guidance across hundreds, if not thousands, of stores, are proven not only to be inefficient, but can actually damage productivity.
For the brands that Concrete works with, the opportunities are clear. By enabling Head Office, or Regional Management, to centrally manage the distribution of brand, promotional, and operational content and tasks, they can ensure field teams always have access to the right information at the right time. That means consistent performance, an ability to monitor compliance, and a well-executed in-store experience that lives up to the brand promise.
Kate Spade New York is just one example. Concrete helped the brand to manage its international expansion, allowing the team to share all the best practice, measurements, layouts and collateral, that were needed to roll out store, after store, while keeping each completely brand compliant. Today, no matter which store you visit, the experience is consistent thanks to the brand’s continued use of Concrete.
To learn more about Concrete, and to see how it can improve the final-mile experience for your brand, book a demo.