Many of the forces shaping the retail industry in recent years—retail shopper behavior shifts, inflation, supply chain issues, labor shortages, and the emergence of new technologies—have been nothing less than epic, demanding retailers and brands evolve.
And many have. Things like frictionless transactions… augmented reality… experiential retailing… virtual assistance… and chatbots are all becoming routine parts of the customer experience. But brands and retailers that are relying entirely on technological solutions are missing the mark. AI and other technologies are evolving at a break-neck pace, but they will never satisfy consumers’ craving for human interaction along their buying journey.
As shoppers have become used to the convenience, speed, and broad base of easily accessible information available through online browsing, they expect a replica of this environment when they visit brick-and-mortar stores. Customers want the benefits of the digital experience to translate into their in-person experiences. This is where a customer engagement solution that blends the best of digital and human connection can step in.
“…pure technological solutions can never stoke the emotional connection between employee and customer…”
– McKinsey & Co.
The fact is, even though in-store shoppers appreciate the ability to see, feel, and compare different products, models, and brands—they are still actively using their phones while shopping. A recent report found that 80% of shoppers have used a mobile phone inside of a physical store to either look up product reviews, compare prices, or find alternative store locations. And another study found that 63% of shoppers use a phone in-store to research before buying, and 36% have bought something online while in-store. Omnichannel selling is clearly here to stay.
Imagine if retailers and brands could take advantage of the ubiquity of mobile phone usage by in-store shoppers in a way that would ultimately…
- Allow customers instantaneous access to useful product information
- Guide customers toward a confident purchase decision
- Connect customers more closely to your brand or store
- Enhance the customer experience to improve sales volume and deepen loyalty
Well, you don’t have to imagine it. You can live it with AskMe® by MarketSource, a customer engagement game-changer that gives customers the human interaction they crave along their buying journey, right in the digital shopping zones they’re sure to enter.
AskMe® Connects Customers with Live Personal Brand Experts in Real Time
AskMe provides retailers and brands with a powerful solution that bridges the gap between online and offline shopping. With AskMe, we bring a dedicated team of human brand experts to your customers—whether in-store or online—through their devices, which they already rely on while they shop.
It’s a real-time customer engagement solution that connects customers to live agents who serve as personal brand experts while they shop. The connection happens from any mobile device via a QR code appended to the product, a shelf tag, or sticker. Or a sales associate may initiate the connection. Either way, customers have the choice of communicating with an AskMe rep via live video chat, instant message, text, or phone.
On the other end is a highly trained, product-savvy virtual assistant who’s an expert in your brand, ready to answer shoppers’ questions on the spot. Because of the immediate response to their questions and access to a personalized human interaction with a knowledgeable brand expert, retail shoppers enjoy a higher level of shopping satisfaction and connection to your brand or store.
AskMe delivers a surprising and very welcome personalized shopping experience for in-store customers.
It also serves as an indirect labor-saving solution. When sales associates must step out, AskMe can step in. In other words, AskMe puts an end to customers’ desperate searches for store assistance that often end in frustration. Whether you are short on staff, or when your current staff is busy with other tasks, AskMe brand experts are available when and where customers need help.
AskMe solves for these and many other retail dilemmas. Read about all the applications AskMe has for your store or brand.
AskMe® Elevates the Customer Experience
Unlike other digital customer engagement strategies, AskMe isn’t a technology solution—it’s a people solution shoppers can access digitally to enjoy the ultimate omnichannel customer experience. It’s a team of retail specialists, trained on your brand and products, ready to assist customers in the midst of their shopping journey. And by achieving that all-important delicate balance between technological advancement and human connection, AskMe truly elevates the customer experience.
And AskMe reps are not just agents—they are savvy brand experts who receive intense, ongoing training from our Learning, Training, and Development team and from our in-house retail sales experts on each brand and product they represent. Behind every AskMe rep is a team of retail sales specialists and strategists with deep, on-the-ground, and leadership retail expertise: recruiters, trainers, business process analysts, and engineers, GIS mapping analysts, technology specialists, retail operations managers, and more. And underlying AskMe are sales-changing technologies, configured to optimize results for our clients.
Iconic brands around the country rely on MarketSource, a leader in outsourced sales, to bring their brands to life. We can quickly recruit, train, and onboard an AskMe team to meet your unique requirements, up and running in a matter of weeks. We become more than partners: AskMe virtual brand experts are an extension of your brand, thoroughly embedded within your own sales and marketing departments.
How AskMe® Live Virtual Assisting Adds Value for Retail Shoppers
There is no limit to the kinds of virtual assistance—both pre- and post-sale—that brick-and-mortar customers may receive. For instance, the AskMe virtual brand expert team can…
- Provide shoppers with detailed product information
- Explain how products work and how models differ as to features, prices, and benefits
- Assess each shopper’s individual needs so they can recommend specific products
- Suggest peripherals and adjunct devices that will enhance usability of the product
- Complete the sale and coordinate product delivery
- Engage customers with product support after they get it home, addressing installation and troubleshooting issues
Post-sale support is particularly helpful when it comes to products in the home improvement, consumer electronics, smart appliance, and mobile tech categories.
Meeting customers’ expectations in this vein adds value to the shopping experience. As a Forbes Tech Council article explains, “In addition to AI-powered chatbots, live engagement technologies help retailers capture that ’wow’ experience… These tools include text chat, video chat, real-time collaboration, co-browsing, and co-form fill, which can all play a role in making the virtual shopping experience easy and satisfying.”
AskMe solves chronic problems plaguing many retailers. You can probably relate to one, if not all of them.
- Are your stores understaffed? AskMe virtual brand representatives fill the labor gap.
- Are customers leaving your stores empty-handed because there’s no one there who has the deep knowledge they need to make a purchase decision? AskMe virtual brand representatives can increase sales volume.
- Are your customer engagement efforts not delivering results? AskMe virtual brand representatives help build stronger relationships between consumers and your brand.
Chatters spend 60% more per purchase than non-chatters.
For all the ways that AskMe benefits both the customer experience and a brand or retailer’s bottom line, no other program likely comes close to its ease of implementation, depth of retail people, process, and technology expertise, and return on investment. AskMe answers the call.
So, if you think that meeting customers’ demands for speed, convenience, and access to information in a human way is an impossible dream, you should consider AskMe. It’s an innovative answer that transforms the dream into reality.
Ready to talk?
For more information about how AskMe® can deliver strong brand advocacy and greater sales for retail stores, contact MarketSource today.