SOURCE: Associates Interactive

January 22, 2008 08:00 ET

Consumer Electronics Sales Associates Hold the Key to Overcoming Economic Pressures

Associates Interactive Offer Retailers and Manufacturers Tips Following Slow Holiday Sales

BUFFALO, NY--(Marketwire - January 22, 2008) - Associates Interactive, a provider of training content and certifications used to educate retail sales associates, today released its top five tips on how retail outlets can train sales teams to help increase purchases as consumer spending continues to slow. The company also emphasizes that manufacturers can help retailers boost sales by putting robust training programs in place.

According to the National Retail Federation, 2007 holiday sales, which combine November and December sales, rose three percent to $469.9 billion, weaker than the projected four percent holiday forecast. This represents the lowest holiday season growth since 2002, when sales rose 1.3 percent. (1)

Associates Interactive, experts in associate knowledge training, offer the below tips to help consumer electronics manufacturers and retailers beat current economic concerns:

--  Differentiate based on associate expertise -- As consumer spending
    tightens, price competition will increase, yet consumers will still pay a
    premium for a consultative purchasing experience.
--  Teach associates to converse with customers -- Product knowledge isn't
    enough. Associates need to engage customers in conversations about their
    needs and provide that consultative experience. Good conversations skills
    aren't intuitive but they can be taught.
--  Focus associate training -- Teach each associate one category at a
    time to make sure they are able to communicate effectively with customers,
    sell and cross-sell the right products and answer customer questions. It's
    better to have an associate with expertise in one category than limited
    knowledge in many.
--  Bundle and advertise complete solutions -- Consumers want to buy a
    complete experience and don't know all of the components needed to create
    it. This uncertainty leads to reluctance to purchase. Create the bundles
    and teach associates to sell the solution.
--  Promote associate expertise -- Customers value good advice and
    knowledgeable sales associates. Let customers know that consultation is
    part of the shopping experience.
    

"We are certainly seeing reports come in showing slow sales numbers for the holiday shopping season across many retail categories," said Bob Richardson, President and CEO of Associates Interactive. "The consumer electronics manufacturers and retail stores need to start putting more focus and resources on how they train associates to sell. During tough economic times, people tend to hold their money very close until they're certain that a product or solution will meet their needs. Unprepared or uncertain associates deter customers from spending."

Associates Interactive's training method, RetailAI™ combines the best practices in instructional design with proven techniques to help increase sales in retail stores. Compared to other training alternatives, the Associates Interactive approach aims to achieve results more quickly and incrementally improves sales growth as associates complete additional courses and practice personalized sales techniques. In the RetailAI model, product knowledge is focused on the essential features that are most important to customers, eliminating the technical jargon that often intimidates consumers. For more information on how Associates Interactive can help bring customers back into the store, visit. www.associatesinteractive.com.

About Associates Interactive

Associates Interactive develops training content, courses, exercises, tests and certifications used to train retail sales associates. The company is addressing the market demand for effective training material that has an immediate and sustained impact on associate behavior and sales results. The training program, called RatailAI, is developed independently and better integrates products from multiple manufacturers in the sales discussion, ultimately increasing overall sales for the retailer. More information on Associates Interactive can be found at www.associatesinteractive.com.

(1) http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=News&op=viewlive&sp_id=453

Contact Information

  • Contacts:
    Noah Dye
    Cari Goodrich
    LEWIS PR for Associates Interactive
    Noah: 408-573-3662
    Cari: 408-573-3663
    Email Contact