Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Motivating and Engaging Millennials – The New Retail Store Associate

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In the continuous changing retail environment, what do words such as social, mobile, gamification, showrooming, buyer journey, interactive, and Millennials mean and what do they mean for your business?
Today, shoppers stay informed, they are connected, and they have more choices than before. There has always been competition on the store shelves, but manufacturers now have to compete with reputations online and the errant bad review – “Two out of five stars – it didn’t arrive when they said it would, don’t buy this phone!”.

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Combine this with under-informed store associates who have a reputation of being nothing more than a living, breathing directional sign and you have a tricky situation for someone trying to sell their latest amazing product.
The retail store experience still works. Even the most informed and opinionated shopper can be turned at the moment of sale by a skilled and educated store associate. But with so many other brands to recommend and a lot of other informed shoppers to deal with, how do you encourage, engage, and motivate people that aren’t your own employees?

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People sell what they know, so how well do store associates know your product? Are you sending them a pamphlet or are you relying on the store’s Learning Management System? How about a social community?
Today, social communities continue to expand; they are becoming a great resource to create sharable, enjoyable, and educational environments for Retail Store Associates.
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Connect+ is MarketStar’s social learning and advocacy platform. It has proven to be successful, driving great results for clients. Through Connect+, we provide retail employees with the tools, knowledge, and training they need in order to sell your product and convey passion for your brand.
Microsoft PowerPoint - AMA MarketStar Lunch & Learn 2.18.15 FINABased on our experience in building and managing social communities, we’ve created the Game On! eBook. Game On! outlines tips on how to get retail store associates on your side, educated about your product, and passionate about the very thing you want them to sell.
First, it’s important to know your audience and key demographics. Millennials are a growing influencer in retail stores; they are the largest commercial demographic and one-third of the U.S. population today. Growing up with technology, Millennials have become the skeptical, involved technocrat. They know what marketers are doing online and are weary of advertisements and traditional media outlets.
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Research shows 64% of Millennials want brands to engage with them and hear their opinions. They are not just your customers; they are the same store associates selling your wares.

With this elusive, distracted, intelligent, and skeptical demo in mind, how do you create an engaging, fun, social, and effective community for them?

Part 2 of this blog series will cover distinct mechanisms we have identified to be successful. When all of them are integrated into Connect+, they have proven to not just increase activity and brand affinity, but increase sales.

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