As retail stores reopened and welcomed customers back to in-person shopping during 2021, sales climbed to record-breaking levels. According to Mastercard, holiday sales were up 9% from 2020 — the biggest annual gain in 17 years. And consumer in-store enthusiasm continues to rise.
Insider Intelligence researchers predict a 2.5% year-over-year retail sales increase to $6.624 trillion in 2022. By 2024, sales could push past $7 million, albeit with e-commerce accounting for a quarter of the total.
To manage the massive in-store comeback, retailers need a long-term strategy. Are you supporting your brand in a way that will drive sales and secure loyalty? How should your strategy be different than it was pre-pandemic to assure competitive strength? And, what are you doing to prepare to take advantage of 2022’s seasonal shopping opportunities?
These questions may be keeping you up at night, and well they should. The retail industry is in a transition period that has no precedent. The good news is that you have many options at your disposal that can just about guarantee positive results.
Best Bang for Your Buck
Outsourcing your sales and marketing activities is a viable option, enabling you to deliver on a strong brand strategy whether in the short term or for the long haul. When you outsource, you are not replacing your current team. Rather, you are amplifying your sales staff with a highly experienced team that is dedicated to strengthening your brand strategy and accelerating your sales.
Partnering with a company that specializes in sales outsourcing services gives you the best bang for the buck. Besides managing all of the operational and administrative details, outsourcing companies that focus on representing brands at retail are true sales experts; this is what they do every day and it’s their core competency. The end game is to become an extension of your brand and create the best possible customer experience, which ultimately turns into more sales.
An additional advantage is the extreme flexibility of outsourced sales personnel. They can quickly respond to changing store dynamics to optimize your sales and marketing activities, with the result of achieving your business performance goals with a greater sense of certainty. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that retailers must plan for the unexpected and need to be able to rapidly pivot in the face of the unpredictable.
At the end of the day, this is what you want for your brand. It sets the stage for a good night’s sleep, too!
A Strategy for Sales Success
Many large retailers and brands use outsourcing on a regular basis to augment all or some segment of their sales activities. Consider these outsourcing options that promise positive, bottom-line outcomes:
Holiday Readiness. There’s no time like the present to solidify sales plans for busy holiday shopping periods. Do you need help? Why not outsource? Recruiting, hiring, training, managing, and reporting functions can be a burden if you do it in-house. Leave it all to the experts and you’ll be relieved of all these worrisome tasks.
Brand Advocacy. Educating your associates on your brand and how best to present it to customers is a constant challenge. More than likely you are not totally happy with store associates’ level of product knowledge. Maybe they are not recommending certain products properly or at all, or are weak in cross-selling or upselling. Sending in an outsourced team to help drive awareness and infuse your store with brand evangelists is a winning strategy.
Assisted Selling/Sales Events. Perhaps your brand needs more direct and concentrated sales efforts. We all know how difficult it is to find competent, self-motivated sales assistance in most retail stores these days. This can lead to a bad customer experience and lost sales. Solve the problem by outsourcing your sales team. These experts are trained in how to initiate engaging conversations, ask the right questions and make the right recommendations. As a result, customer experience is taken to a whole new and more personalized level, which creates not only new sales, but also builds loyalty and future sales.
Virtual Brand Engagement. The pandemic has changed consumer behavior forever. Customers expect to engage with your brand in a consistent manner, moving seamlessly between online, mobile and in-store channels. Virtual connections to customers are no longer discretionary, but are mandatory if you want to keep pace with digitally driven consumers. An outsourced virtual sales team can assure you can, and not just now, but on an ongoing basis.
For instance, an in-store customer browsing a set of products that displays QR codes can use their mobile phone to scan the code, directing them to a product page with detailed information. Or, it can open up a direct chat with a knowledgeable virtual salesperson. Taking this a step further, the QR code may provide access to a direct, live video conversation with a product expert. Imagine the possibilities! These are just a few ways that virtual brand services can help your brand thrive and your sales soar.
So, whether you’ve used outsourced services in the past, are considering it as a solution to your current situation, or realize an urgent need for a boost to your selling strategy, know that there are many different ways it can successfully fulfill your sales and revenue objectives.