Best Outsourced Retail Services Partner—Who Decides?

by Ann Bailey

The 25 “Most Promising Retail Services Vendors” are chosen by the Outsourcing Gazette.  Here’s how to make that list.

Why outsourced retail services?

Trained, outsourced retail labor can quickly elevate the levels of conversation about a product, as well as add value to customer engagements, both inside the store and in consultative virtual exchanges.

Sending in an at­-the­-ready sales force to handle the heaviest seasonal sales can improve any business’s incremental sales process, particularly for a difficult category or product line. But how do you find the right retail services partner, the best outsourcing company, for your business?

The ability to find high­ quality sales professionals, and put them into effect on the sales floor, with the least amount of stress on hiring budgets and management time, lies in third-party labor outsourcing.

How do some outsourcing companies do it better than others, and who decides who’s best?

What is a best outsourced retail services partner?

To determine rank in the important world of outsourcing providers, one would need evaluations on the touch­points between the outsourcing partner and the retailer.

After all, the only reason for a client to use an outsourcing partner in the first place is to improve the bottom line.

Outsourcing Gazette published its list of the top 25 outsourced retail services vendors through evaluation of critically important areas of industry abilities. Here’s what they looked for in field marketing and sales and third-party labor providers:

1. Market pain points addressed

Fortune 500 as well as start­up companies are bringing products to market with unprecedented speed due to online marketplaces, rapid modeling tools and lower ­cost manufacturing, and even crowd funding.

When these businesses are ready to launch at brick and mortar retail, they need and expect field sales & marketing, brand advocacy, and product branding to drive sales throughout the critical launch cycle and beyond. “Best” partners are the ones that actually deliver.

2. Key products/solutions/services offered to clients

Retailers want to be offered customized solutions based on their respective business goals, their specific retailer environment, and their desired ROI.

They need an array of services including training & advocacy, in­-aisle demonstration, direct-­to-­consumer selling, merchandising, and brand ambassadorship ̶ all of which must be fully scalable.

The best outsourced retail services partners are going to provide this.

3. Key differentiating points which set the company apart from its competitors

A top retail services partner will offer outstanding sales and marketing solutions. Innovative, in-person sales team training should include insights like how to engage a customer in collaborative conversation, and any client’s customer­ research findings must be simple to interpret.

Custom solutions should be strategically designed to guide the partner’s business decisions, and should include advanced software tools and years of experience in creating better customer experiences.

4. The key strategy followed to stay ahead of the competition

This is not always as easy to pinpoint as it sounds. Outsourced retail sales­ team vendors, for instance, need to use the best training possible in order to deliver the clearest message for the product or brand, and deliver it at the right frequency to drive retention.

They have to make the training stick through creative demonstrations and interactions. And to prove top-­notch innovative strategy, they should also be able to make it fun!

5. Illustrious clientele

When a customer enters a store to buy a large flat panel TV, that’s not all they are looking for. They are there to buy entertainment, a shared family experience, and possibly the status of owning the biggest or best.

The best outsourced retail services partners will have the biggest and best clientele, naturally.

6. A case study to highlight the benefits brought to one of their clients

The methods behind market research may be systematic, but every brand, product, service, and company has varying business objectives.

Top vendors will have in­-house market research departments designed to assist clients in defining custom research solutions that meet their objectives.

7. The roadmap ahead for the company

How will the retail labor vendor optimize the deployment of their sales professionals? Do they utilize geographic information services (GIS) to provide demographic and coverage analysis and have on­ staff instructional designers developing customized new-­hire training and continuing education?

Once a solution is launched, the most successful partner will be constantly innovating and improving, using data from their workforce management tool to understand how they are executing in retail. Continued analysis of Business Intelligence reports will drive business decisions and provide their critical metrics.

Who decides the best outsourced retail services partner?

In the Outsourcing Gazette’s process, an evaluation team looked at nearly 300 nominations, and then: “… shortlisted top service providers, which were then taken up by a distinguished panel comprised of CEOs, CIOs, VCs, and analysts including the Outsourcing Gazette editorial board, deciding the final 25 Most Promising Retail Services Vendors.”

About the Outsourcing Gazette

Published in Fremont, California, the magazine has 24,000 U.S. subscribers with 80% of them directly involved in outsourcing globally for their businesses. Half of the Gazette’s readership comes from companies boasting over 5000 employees.

About 14% of the Gazette’s readers belong to organizations of 500­ – 1000 employees. Geographically, readers are split between 50% on the west coast, 40% on the east coast, and 10% in interior cities.

Why businesses need 3rd party labor sales solutions

Rick Haviland, President of MarketSource, Inc., offers that, “Consumers are more informed now than ever before. When these customers enter a store, they want to encounter sales associates who are well trained, product savvy, and know more about the product than they do. That’s the key.

The best outsourcing companies work with and improve upon this change in customers’ wants and expectations. They have the right training to give to the sales associates about how to greet and engage a customer in a collaborative conversation. That’s an area in which we excel.”

MarketSource was chosen by Outsourcing Gazette as a Most Promising Outsourced Retail Services Vendor for 2015. Its acclaimed proprietary Define-­to­-Design process begins with a thorough discovery session with every client, ensuring a successful, profitable partner relationship.


Topic: Retail


MarketSource, Inc. Digital Content Manager - Ann Bailey is a general business writer and content marketer. She graduated from Emory University, has been a journalist in two print newsrooms, and was an anchor for a CBS-affiliate television news station. Her writing is both research and interview-based.

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