Clientbook Blog
February 2, 2024

Why the associate experience matters in retail

​​Originally, in the retail industry, success was purely measured by sales and revenue increases and improving the customer experience. However, in recent years, more and more successful retailers have realized their customers aren’t the only ones they need to think about.

Today, catering to the needs of your sales associates is just as important as the needs of your retail customers. In other words, the associate experience (AX), or employee experience, at your physical store is just as valuable as the role in customer experience.

This new focus is centered around the idea that brick and mortar stores' associates shouldn’t become a second priority, but are treated as the dominating force in the overarching success of the business.

What is the associate experience?

The associate experience is all about engaging retail employees in their work. In fact, according to statistics published by Hubspot, 69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt better appreciated.

Facing the post-pandemic retail world, social dynamics and traditional retail experiences have changed, and so has the economy. Forward-thinking retailers recognize making positive employee experiences is a better way of creating connections with associates.

Why is the associate experience important today

So if the employee experience is so important, how come it hasn’t been so heavily prioritized before? The answer lies in today’s retail employment woes.

The retail industry is struggling to recruit and hire retail associates. And when they do, the high turnover rate among their employees means they likely won’t stay for long. This has lead to a renewed focus on employee well-being and workplace satisfaction.

And putting in effort toward your associates isn’t just about meeting your hiring requirements. By increasing associate job satisfaction and keeping associates happy, they will in turn work harder and boost the customer experience and customer satisfaction. Happy employees are the secret to the customer experience strategy. 

This is where the concept of creating a business culture for the associate experience will be the foundation for the retail strategy.

How to create a successful associate experience

Creating a perfect associate experience won’t happen overnight, but we’ll become better and better with every small change you make. Your efforts in building a seamless experience will fall in one of two categories: physical changes and mental changes.

Physical changes

When working to make your store a more enticing place to work, there are a lot of physical elements and tangible items you can provide. Whether it’s a simple team lunch once a month or a less strict dress policy, there are dozens of little changes your associates will appreciate.

Here are a few more ideas that can get you started:

  • Offer drinks and snacks: Provide coffee or a few snack items for your associates is a welcome addition to any break room
  • Reward accomplishments: Giving associates fun products or exclusive access to new items is a great way to encourage your team to meet their goals
  • Don’t forget about aesthetics: Visual merchandising isn’t just for your customers. Your associates also benefit from a bright, aesthetically pleasing store as their workplace

Psychological changes

When it comes to creating positive and memorable experiences, retail store owners can also look at the psychology behind motivation. Researchers have found a correlation with high motivation and employee performance. And Hubspot states the statistic that 78% of employees say by being recognized in their job, they would be motivated.

These are just a few ways you can build a motivation at your store:

  • Autonomy: Even in a place where there are rules and standards, it’s still important to give your associates some control. So rather than having a specific sales script, you could let them sell through their personal style.
  • Belonging: Humans need connection and friendship—especially at a job where they’ll spend most of their day. Having team activities or outings is a great way to build a sense of belonging.
  • Competence: Your retail store associates need knowledge to feel confident in their roles. Do they understand your POS system? Are they missing product knowledge? Whatever the gaps are, it’s your job to make sure your associates have what they need to do their best work.

How Clientbook leverages your AX

If you’re looking for a way to simplify your team’s work, Clientbook is the answer. Clientbook is a CRM used by hundreds of sales associates nationwide every single day.

With it, mundane tasks can be automated, cluttered client lists can be organized, and following up with clients is easier than ever.

Plus, being a part of managing clients through Clientbook will give associates a sense of ownership and pride in their work, leading to higher engagement, increased sales, and happier customers.

Conclusion

After implementing the associate experience strategies discussed above, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll see boosted sales and boosted morale. This simple approach will motivate associates to oversee high-quality sales because they will see even more worth in supporting your retail business.

Start measuring what matters most and become the best retail employer on the block by creating an environment where your associates feel greater autonomy, belonging, and competence. They are the link between customers and your business’s success.

And if you’re ready to see how Clientbook can make your job—and your team’s jobs—easier than ever, book a demo today or learn more about our sales management features.

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