Putting the “specialty” in specialty retail service
When a customer chooses to disregard a discount apparel store and visit a specialty retail store instead, they expect a certain level of expertise.
For example, upon entering an Under Armour store, the patron intends to learn more about that specific brand. What puts Under Armour over Nike? How is does it's product design differ from Adidas? These are just a couple of questions to which shoppers are seeking answers.
The competition is tight
As there are numerous apparel manufacturers specializing in athletic clothing, outdoor gear, seasonal fashion and so on, companies need to find ways to assert their dominance over the market. Of course, this is easier said than done.
Benzinga acknowledged how Urban Outfitters, Free People and Anthropologie Group are constantly aiming to gain a piece of the apparel pie. These three groups cater primarily to the late-millennial generation, appealing to a culture that focuses on subtle social rebellion and acceptance of diversity.
They're not ignorant of ecommerce software, either. The source noted Urban Outfitters's net income for Q2 2014 stood at $67.51 million – $8.85 million less than the same period last year. Apparently, the specialty retail brand set aside capital for revamping its marketing strategy and improving its website.
What approach should in-store representatives make?
When a person enters an Apple store, they likely already know they want to purchase a product manufactured by the company. He or she could have visited a Best Buy to purchase an iPhone or iPad, but the individual wanted a different experience, one that reflects the attitude of the brand.
Retail Customer Experience contributor Doug Fleener maintained that four kinds of specialty retail representatives exist. He outlined their character traits and sales approaches, which are listed below:
- The Gawker: A person hears a customer talking, but the information is going in one ear and out the other. He or she doesn't possess comprehensive knowledge of the company's products or service offerings.
- The Stalker: Someone who follows customers as they walk around a store in the hope one of them will have a question regarding an item. The person fails to engage shoppers proactively.
- The Talker: A representative who is friendly and can inform people about each of the brand's products and provide expert opinion. However, this person typically focuses too much on making a sale and forgets to create a meaningful connection.
- The Rockers: Those who establish empathy between themselves and the customer. They assess the persons needs and desires and find an item that best suits them.
While personality is essential, specialty retailers must also provide employees with technology that allows them to complete sales on the spot.