Wouldn’t it be better if, instead of reciting a memorized blurb about the brand and asking customers what size they are on their way to the dressing room, your retail sales employees spurred organic, lively conversations around a point of pop culture fascination?
Okay, that question was more than a little rhetorical.
When implemented correctly, the fascination behind celebrities can be a highly effective tool for retail employees to engage and sell into customers on the ground floor. Why? Because consumers emulate the behavior and trends set by their favorite celebrities, taking action and making purchase decisions based on what celebrities are wearing.
Retail employees not using celebrity as a sales tool and customer talking point? Here’s what you need to know.
The Lay of the Land
The average retail employee is generally just taught basic customer service skills, with representatives from the brand popping in occasionally to educate on brand guidelines.
Outside of what’s dropped in front of them, retail employees don’t spend much (if any) extra time doing research, thinking deeply about how to better sell products, or how to strengthen their position and role. This is not to discredit retail employees; this is a product of the circumstances around them:
- Many retail employees are young and don’t see the position as a meaningful stepping stone in their career.
- Brands set strict guidelines and warn retail employees about being on-brand.
- Retail employees are paid hourly and are generally underpaid. What incentive is there to get them to work off the clock and do research outside of the brand booklets and materials given to them? None.
Because of these circumstances, retail employees are left to rely only on the materials that the brand or the retailer provides them to help with selling and customer engagement. The issue is that these materials are not fully relevant to the end customer (or even the employee) and tend to be “salesy” — one could even say too on-brand.
Leveraging Pop Culture Fascination
When customers walk into a brand’s retail location, they expect that the employees will know everything about the brand in question. But is their base knowledge of brand and product details enough to truly hook the customer?
This is where brand-specific celebrity news and style trends can come into play.
The employee might be aware of some of this celebrity info if they follow the brand’s or celebrities’ social channels or happen to see a story featuring the brand written up in publications like People, Refinery29, and POPSUGAR. Outside of that, though, chances are that the employee is only aware of large-scale endorsement deals that the brand has with celebrities, not organic ones.
By looking outside of the standard brand rulebooks and guidelines, endorsement deals, and towards more on-the-street celebrity style trends, retail employees can instead make connections with customers via a highly memorable and emotionally-rooted topic of conversation — something that nearly everyone can relate to and discuss.
But at this point, you may be wondering: why should brands care if their retail teams are talking to customers about celebrity trends? Fair question, but celebrity is much more than a guilty pleasure. It’s a point of consumer fascination, a crucial part of fashion and pop culture that can determine if trends live or die.
It’s also a point of consumer engagement that’s not overtly branded. Customer conversations based around celebrities and their personal style selections allow for one-off conversations that involve something outside of the brand itself and build greater trust.
How Retail Employees Can Use Celebrities to Drive Sales Impact
Here are just a few things retail employees could do with greater access to highly fascinating celebrity style info:
- Reference celebrity photos and begin identifying trends according to what celebrities are wearing. Contact Spotted for more information on our retail alert tool and ensure that your sales employees know every single time a celebrity is seen wearing your brand.
- Communicate these true style trends to customers
- Have easy, relatable conversations with customers that are not extremely on-brand or overtly sales-driven. Think dropping in “Jennifer Lawrence and Blake Lively were recently seen wearing these sneakers while working out” versus “Our products are…”
By better integrating real celebrity style trends into materials and communications to retail employees, brands can keep their stores’ fingers on the pulse — impacting consumers near the point of purchase with powerful celebrity mentions.
All photos licensed courtesy of BACKGRID.
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