AskMe™ Use Cases

Are You Meeting Customers Where They Want to Connect?

Whether assisting retail sales associates with real-time product knowledge and support or helping customers through a virtual buying experience, AskMe™ by MarketSource delivers improved experiences in virtual environments.

The use cases below are just a few examples of how AskMe truly is the future of customer engagement.

A Real-Time Solution to Understaffed Stores

Retail stores are understaffed. Many workers never returned to their jobs once the pandemic eased, while a wave of disgruntled workers have left the industry permanently, and many older workers have retired.

This has made it tough for retailers to welcome consumers back to brick-and-mortar shopping.  Shoppers’ expectations have risen as well. Accustomed now to getting instant answers to their questions online, they expect even more information to be readily available when they take the time to check out your products in real person. But most retailers simply don’t have enough associates adequately prepared to serve customers well. Even when a store is fully staffed, associates are often otherwise occupied, or merely reticent to offer assistance.

The understaffed store (in both bodies and expertise) is something all consumers have experienced at one time or another. You’ve found a line of products that interest you and have your eye on one or two. You’d really like to know more about your choices. What’s the difference between the two options? Which one is the best choice for my specific needs? Will I need to buy any accessories? Does the price include a warranty or protection plan? How do these products differ from similar competitors’ products? As these and other questions swirl around in your head, you look up and down the aisles in a desperate search for answers. A couple of employees are busy restocking shelves, and when you find one free, they say they aren’t familiar with the brand anyway. Another one is working on inventory, and as you approach them, they avoid eye contact or maybe even walk away.

If you do find an available associate willing to assist you, chances are that, as caring as they might be, they really aren’t knowledgeable enough for you to make a confident purchase decision. The result? You leave the store in frustration, and the store loses not only a sale but possibly also a customer—forever.

The solution to staffing shortage woes? AskMe™. It’s a simple yet powerful tool that gives associates and customers immediate, in-store access to virtual brand experts. Attached to your product or the shelf is a cling tag with a QR code that the customer scans with their phone on the spot. Up pops a brand expert, via text, video chat, or phone call, who is ready to help the customer understand all about the product line so they can make an informed buying decision. Right then and there.

AskMe provides two essential advantages here. One, staying up to date on a product line—and having comprehensive, fresh knowledge of features and functionality of different brands, models, or versions—could be a full-time job for a retail associate. But highly trained AskMe experts step in with the latest knowledge at hand, leaving store associates free to handle other valuable tasks. Two, customers have the full attention of an expert whose sole purpose is to provide meaningful information that can help guide them to a high confidence level in their final product purchase.

AskMe experts can be in one store—or every store—are available anytime, and are equipped with deep product knowledge that empowers customers and associates alike.

Retail Associates Receive Live Virtual Product Support

The duties and responsibilities of store associates vary from retailer to retailer and brand to brand. And as retailers struggle with an ongoing labor shortage, the diversity of tasks burdening individual teammates has, for many retailers, mounted.

Retail associate receiving live virtual product support via tablet

The reality is that, with their plethora of duties—conducting transactions, managing inventory, re-stocking shelves, receiving shipments and deliveries, directing customers to the right aisles, and on and on—retail associates cannot possibly be expected also to understand and maintain fresh knowledge of all the nuances of the vast array of the products they sell. For instance, the average big box electronics store sells thousands of products; a home improvement center sells tens of thousands. Retail associates are overwhelmed, to say the least. They have neither the bandwidth nor the ability to provide customers with the kind of detailed information they seek to make a confident purchase decision. In fact, with access to so much information online, customers often arrive at a store with much more knowledge about a product than the staff.

Thus, even your most dedicated and loyal retail associates share an overriding fear that they won’t be able to properly meet customers’ expectations for the depth and breadth of assistance they require.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Overwhelmed retail associates will appreciate the support of AskMe. AskMe provides customers and associates instant access to remote product experts via live chat, text, video, or phone. The retail associate can connect in real time to the expert on behalf of the customer, or the customer can make direct contact by scanning a QR code from a shelf tag via their smartphone. The AskMe product expert, thoroughly trained and educated in all the product features and benefits, and differences among related products, is prepared to assist in-store reps (and even answer direct questions from consumers), make recommendations, and explain the advantages of each product. Experts may also provide product installation tips and troubleshooting assistance.

Retailers and brands will easily discover that AskMe can help them realize increased sales, higher customer-satisfaction rates, and considerable cost efficiencies. AskMe experts can provide wide geographic and time zone coverage, creating a broader reach without having to hire additional on-site staff.

AskMe gives retailers a powerful way to raise the bar on their customers’ experience.

Cover All Your Markets With Brand Support

Does every customer receive a high level of service in every store?

Is your brand message consistent from store to store?

Are you able to offer brand support to stores in smaller markets or with lower volume?

For brands that need brand experts to support their products, it’s nearly impossible to cover every store in every market during all store hours. Not only that, but it’s sometimes challenging to control how your brand message is being conveyed from one location to the next. Because, let’s face it, you can’t be in two places at once. Extrapolate that to several hundred or thousands of stores, and the dilemma is apparent.

At present, there are 1,045,422 brick-and-mortar retail establishments in the U.S.

Of course, your product is not in every one of them. But for national—or even regional brands—your retail footprint can be vast, making coverage by a brand expert a challenge.

Often, brands will target their marketing efforts to concentrate on stores with the greatest opportunity. But that still leaves all your other stores uncovered. How can you get your brand message across the way you want in every store?

AskMe can help.

Or, in actual usage, ask Todd or Suzy or Alethia or Jameson… all knowledgeable members of your AskMe brand expert team. And they are not artificial intelligence bots but real, live people who are standing by virtually, dedicated and equipped to answer customers’ questions, assuage their fears, compare features, give installation tips, recommend accessories—whatever it takes to help customers understand the value of your products and make a confident decision to buy.

AskMe works via a QR code embedded in a product or shelf tag. The customer simply scans the code with their smartphone—or iPad or other digital device—and can reach a brand expert through chat, video, text, or call. Connection to a brand expert is instant, and customers appreciate the convenience of getting quick, professional information about products they are interested in without running up and down the aisles trying to track down a store associate or brand representative. AskMe brand experts are also prepared to demonstrate products via video and can even fill an order and arrange delivery.

Customers without a digital device can ask a store associate to scan the code and make the connection for them. But research shows that most in-store shoppers stay active on their phones anyway, busily comparing different brands, models, and prices, which is where AskMe can step in and provide all the answers.

With AskMe you aren’t limited to supporting only select stores, you can have brand experts supporting every store.

Improve Rep Support for a Larger Slice of the Pie

Training comes with plenty of challenges. But when labor is in short supply, you may find yourself without enough face-to-face trainers to train new hires. And in smaller, secondary markets or low-volume stores—even when staff is abundant—it’s often impossible to send trainers to stores with the frequency needed to maintain the right training cadence.

AskMe can help you solve this conundrum.

Imagine that one of your sales reps is placed in a secondary market location and is rarely visited to train them on the latest new features, promotions, or upgrades on a highly competitive product. They may be delivering excellent customer service, but their sales are not up to par simply because they lack the vital knowledge needed to fully inform customers about the advantages of your brand. And, without the latest information, they’re not delivering a consistent brand message everywhere your product is sold.

Think about it: Even if you spend marketing dollars to drive customers into the store, if your messages aren’t getting to the retail floor, your sales are going to suffer.

But then one day, your under-trained rep meets Julie, a live brand training expert, via voice, text, chat, or live video call, through AskMe. Julie is there to partner with your rep, anytime they have product questions, want to know about special discounts and offers, or need access to sell sheets and training videos.

Now imagine that multiple sales reps throughout any one of your geographic territories can access all this valuable information instantaneously through AskMe. They can get the support they need to truly assist customers in the moment to make a better buying decision. They are more confident, leading your customers to feel more comfortable doing business with you.

AskMe has been used by national retail brands and proven to be a tremendously effective way for them to ensure consistent brand training across all stores and assure customers make the right purchase decisions. It gives you peace of mind and serves you up a bigger piece of the pie.

Retail rep accessing training on tablet

Improve Rep Support for a Larger Slice of the Pie

Training comes with plenty of challenges. But when labor is in short supply, you may find yourself without enough face-to-face trainers to train new hires. And in smaller, secondary markets or low-volume stores—even when staff is abundant—it’s often impossible to send trainers to stores with the frequency needed to maintain the right training cadence.

AskMe can help you solve this conundrum.

Retail rep accessing training on tablet

Imagine that one of your sales reps is placed in a secondary market location and is rarely visited to train them on the latest new features, promotions, or upgrades on a highly competitive product. They may be delivering excellent customer service, but their sales are not up to par simply because they lack the vital knowledge needed to fully inform customers about the advantages of your brand. And, without the latest information, they’re not delivering a consistent brand message everywhere your product is sold.

Think about it: Even if you spend marketing dollars to drive customers into the store, if your messages aren’t getting to the retail floor, your sales are going to suffer.

But then one day, your under-trained rep meets Julie, a live brand training expert, via voice, text, chat, or live video call, through AskMe. Julie is there to partner with your rep, anytime they have product questions, want to know about special discounts and offers, or need access to sell sheets and training videos.

Now imagine that multiple sales reps throughout any one of your geographic territories can access all this valuable information instantaneously through AskMe. They can get the support they need to truly assist customers in the moment to make a better buying decision. They are more confident, leading your customers to feel more comfortable doing business with you.

AskMe has been used by national retail brands and proven to be a tremendously effective way for them to ensure consistent brand training across all stores and assure customers make the right purchase decisions. It gives you peace of mind and serves you up a bigger piece of the pie.

No matter your needs, AskMe experts can help.
If you can envision AskMe making a difference for your brand,