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  • Writer's pictureKatie Tame

Humans build connections, not technology: How to overcome the challenges of digital retail

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

The in-store experience has offered customers the opportunity to enjoy impeccable customer service, guided by expert sales associates. Now retail is being shaped by the digital sphere, it is essential to understand how brands and sales associates can continue to improve the sales journey.

Traditionally, the role of the sales associate is strengthened by understanding their client's style, making recommendations and upselling merchandise. These features should collectively deliver an unmatched sales experience for the client. As retail has transitioned to the digital world, demand and expectation are higher than ever. Consumer behavior is becoming more aligned with the online experience, and it is necessary for both sales associates and brands to adapt to the needs of the consumer.

video call with sales associate

To harness the digital experience to their advantage, sales associates should be available on multiple platforms for client communication. Brands have the opportunity to mobilize their sales advisors to communicate with the clients online and keep a channel of communication open between the client and the brand. Through this, advisors can recommend items they know suit their clients interests, send them videos of products, give personalized recommendations and provide online appointments from anywhere, anytime. This offers the client a direct experience of the product, an aspect of online shopping that is often excluded. Direct communication with the client also gives the sales advisor the opportunity to upsell and recommend different products that can personalize the sales experience, ultimately building a relationship with the client.

BSPK mobile app
Sales advisor using BSPK mobile app to communicate with client

Digital sales teams can actively address the challenges today’s online consumers face, and curate the sales journey to the individual, building a correspondence that supersedes the in-store experience. Converting sales, open interactions with the consumer, and confident and effective relationship building all pinpoint the bespoke experience clients are beginning to expect from high quality retailers. Offering a unique experience is what distinguishes brands, and is a technique utilized by sales advisors who wish to offer their clients something that is not just product based, but experience focused. Buyers of high end products expect knowledgeable sales advisors, and this is not often found online. If brands can address this by offering the in-store experience online, and giving their sales advisors the tools to be successful, they will be able to deliver a competitive and successful sales experience.

“Transactional selling is a threat to client acquisition and retention” - Martin Shanker, Luxury Daily

Establishing authentic relationships online with clients enables sales associates to remain relevant in the digital era. As the consumer mind-set shifts towards mass media, brands need to harness all channels to retain clients and stay competitive. Keeping a client database, and a streamlined approach to client communication whereby the sales associates can offer personal and tailored advice will help businesses maintain authentic relationships with their clients. It is interpersonal skills that build the client relationships, not technology. Sales advisors can leverage the use of apps to enhance their clients experience of digital commerce, but need to remain cognisant of how important the human element is to the sales journey. A continuous and reliable stream of communication and conversation builds loyalty with customers, and benefits all involved.

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