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Online Customer Engagement is Mission Critical Now

Helping retailers understand digital customer engagement is one of the keys for Salesfloor.

Loyalty360 caught up with Ben Rodier, co-founder and chief client officer at Salesfloor, to learn more about the company and its approach toward customer engagement, customer loyalty, and customer experience.

What are your goals from a customer engagement perspective?
Rodier: We know that customers want to shop in the way we’re enabling and we have the data to back it up. Whether you look at repeat sales or email click through rates, conversion rates, or basket size, we see an across the board lift. I’m not talking about five to six percent. I’m talking about anywhere from 15 to 50 percent increases in these metrics. Being able to engage with customers online is mission critical now.

Based on this, our goal is to help more retailers understand their digital customer and find ways to engage with them. We want to accomplish this by creating much more streamlined ways for the associate to engage with shoppers. We want to be the No. 1 associate application to be used on mobile devices in-store and we are already in the leadership position.

Many of our other goals have to do with increasing the number of features and possibilities that we open up on these apps. We are adding features like automated tasking within the app and support for messaging services, such as WeChat, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

What role do sales associates hold in Salesfloor?
Rodier: Sales associates who use the Salesfloor platform are typically the people in the store serving customers. Anyone from someone who works in a specific department to a sales manager or stylist can use the platform. But when they start using Salesfloor, they go from a typical associate to an omnichannel associate. They become responsible for customers not only shopping in-store, but also online with their local store or associate.

Store managers can also use Salesfloor to track the performance of their associates or regional managers can keep an eye on all regions for reporting purposes.

Can you talk about Salesfloor’s genesis and its potential impact on customer engagement, customer experience, and customer loyalty?
Rodier: The genesis of Salesfloor really starts out before Salesfloor was even created. Oscar Sachs, our CEO, worked at Best Buy Corporate. Oscar would visit stores and met a guy that worked in one of the smaller Best Buys in the refrigerator department. This guy, who we will call Joe, was making $350,000 a year. Everyone was rallying around Joe because his story was so incredible.

When Oscar met Joe, he asked him why he was so successful, Joe said, “I don’t treat my job at Best Buy like a regular job, I treat it like a business. It was really his idea that came up with the concept. He had said to Oscar “Imagine if I have my own online website for Best Buy. I would be selling throughout the night and while I’m having dinner with my family. I would let the web do the job but maintain my relationships and drive customers to my storefront.” As you can see, we were inspired by Joe’s point of view.

This triggered us to create some digital tools for associates to use and give them the opportunity to sell online and it snowballed from there.

When you think about customer engagement, the truth of the matter is the customer is fairly disengaged when they’re shopping online. They need to be engaged online the same way they are in-store. We are truly unifying the experience from store to web. It’s an important piece of the puzzle that we are solving, which is unlocking the opportunity for associates and evolving their role. When you look at stores and traffic today, traffic may be going down in-store but going up online. We are putting associates in front of the customer online so the experience is not only consistent, but better on the website to help them drive more sales.

It’s incredible as we see a higher level of repeat business because the customer can shop in more ways than just the store, and we also see an increase in customer acquisitions. Customer acquisitions are 18 percent higher than our stats that we get from our retailers. They showed us that in a single month, if you look at Salesfloor through customer acquisitions, it increases the overall company’s acquisition rate by 18 percent. If you’re used to getting a hundred customers a month, and you add Salesfloor to the mix, next month you would see that number grow to 118.

What facets make Salesfloor unique?
Rodier: It really starts with the concept of our storefronts and giving associates the ability to have a digital presence in a way that no one else has figured out. Our secret sauce is helping associates grow their business, drive sales, and foster relationships in a very meaningful way.

We also provide various clienteling and email marketing tools, along with the ability to text message customers with clickable products, that no one else has. Our Salesfloor Connect Widget™ is a great example of how we are driving relationships with customers via retailers’ online websites.

Finally, we provide a tracking code for the retailer to determine who sold what without having to implement any significant technology, which many other service providers usually require. 

What does the future hold for Salesfloor?
Rodier: We are in the hands of over 5,000 associates and what could be upward of 10,000 associates by the end of the year. The future is very bright and I would say the same thing about the state of retail right now, which depending on who you talk to, can be a very gloomy outlook.

When you look at retail technology and retailers themselves, you have to ask yourself, “Where are we going with all of this?” As stores continue to think about how to engage a customer who shops more online, we believe that Salesfloor and similar solutions are going to help retailers innovate in ways that they have never been able to before.

The future of Salesfloor is about continuing to grow an incredible team, both in Montreal and New York, and possibly new markets and new offices in 2018. Our future in the short term is about onboarding more customers. We have an incredible group of retailers who have been early innovators. We are starting to see a lot more traction and velocity in terms of more retailers joining our program. Being able to continue to scale and offer new functionality and new features is what we are all about over the next few months and few years. We’re excited to be, not only thought leaders in this space, but also market leaders as well.

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