Commentary

The Customer Role in Teaching Mobile to Salespeople

Some of the sales training around mobile commerce at retail is coming from the customer.

Today’s Fast Company story about the challenges of Starbucks effectively deploying the Square mobile payment system nationwide highlights one of the major challenges of mobile at retail.

It’s not so much about inventing and deploying mobile technology as it is about training people in how it works and how to use it.

And this is where the mobile customer comes in.

Mobile power users – and you know who you are – understand how this stuff works and what it’s supposed to do.

A few months ago, for example, I was shopping at a mall, scanned an item, found it cheaper elsewhere and asked the clerk if they price matched. The sales associate did not know and quickly got a manager.

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He said yes, they did match prices other physical stores. I showed him my phone with the price of the item cheaper at another store, and he matched the price. The sales associate watched the entire exchange, which took less than a minute, and was now trained in matching prices scanned by smartphone.

The employee training was free and I got a deal. Win-win.

Shopping at Staples yesterday, I scanned an item while in the short checkout line and found it cheaper at (of all places) another Staples store. The sales person was new, a manager was standing nearby and she asked him what do do.

I showed him my phone, he told her what to enter into the register and the deal was done. Another salesperson trained.

Some of this process is hardly rocket science and just involves a bit of customer-salesperson interaction. Salespeople typically are not opposed to learning how to leverage mobile, they just need to see it one time.

Sales associates all personally have mobile phones and they also are consumers. They get corporate training in many things, but mobile keeps advancing and many mobile shoppers are a step ahead.

Have you trained any salespeople in mobile?

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