Retailers are driving value with consumers by offering them personalized guidance and information at every touchpoint, from the pre-purchase, decision-making stage all the way to post-purchase support

Brands like T-Mobile and Best Buy are investing more in training and processes to support their frontline associates and bringing in the right partners to position themselves as category experts. Whether through one-to-one consults, group classes or post-purchase support, these service initiatives are designed to boost the confidence of consumers at every stage of their journey, a sales-driving strategy highlighted in PSFK's Future of Retail 2019 report. 

Consumers gauge their brand loyalty by the level of service they are being provided. Accordingly, retailers are increasingly focusing their efforts on offering expertise at all stages of the shopping experience, from online platforms that connect shoppers with on-demand associate assistance to educational and product-enhancing classes.

Harvey Nichols AskHN
U.K. premium department store Harvey Nichols unveiled a new platform called AskHN that lets online shoppers connect directly with in-store associates when they need guidance. Shoppers can tap the ‘Hero’ button on the retailer’s website to initiate a chat, which will automatically connect them to the best available associate for assistance, usually in the nearest store. Shoppers can ask for styling advice, such as how to get the most out of their favorite pieces or what to wear for a job interview, as well as beauty and food advice. The in-store team can respond by sending pictures, live streaming from the shop floor and providing product recommendations.

Best Buy Camera Experience Shop
Electronics retailer Best Buy offers photography lessons to help shoppers get the most out of their camera purchases. Aspiring photographers can participate in classes led by professional photographers covering topics like shooting in low light or Halloween photography. Beginner classes are free, while more advanced classes start at $50. The classes are offered through the retailer’s Camera Experience Center, a dedicated area of the store with an expanded selection of camera, created in partnership with Canon, Nikon Sony and GoPro.

Telecommunications company T-Mobile overhauled its customer service program, providing intensive training to its agents and ensuring that customers can easily reach a real person who understands their issues, not bots. The new customer service team, called Team of Experts, is divided by geography and each person on the team is trained to handle a wide range of topics. T-Mobile postpaid customers can access the service by dialing 611 or using the T-Mobile app or Apple Business Chat in iMessage. Members of each team work closely with one another to ensure that, even if customers don’t get the same agent each time they call, the person they speak with should be well briefed on their previous issues.

These are just a few examples of how brands are offering expertise and assistance at every stage of the customer journey. For the full details, PSFK's Future of Retail 2019 report.