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Happy and dear customers that we are. As the holidays approach, we’ll be hitting a few physical stores. Not everyone orders their gifts on the Internet yet…. Provided that said store does not become a chore!

Shopping in store!

And why would this little point-of-sale tour become a constraint? Before, in my time … Going shopping on weekends, it was the outing of the week, we put on the best clothes to go see the fish in the garden center. Right out of a well-watered Sunday meal at Crocodilamus or Buffalo-King 🤔.

But times have changed. For the holiday season 2021, the 5,728 consumers around the world polled for the Untold Insights survey are thinking rather gloomy thoughts.

16% of them are sure that the gifts will be more expensive because of the shortages. 12% believe that the desired product will not be available and as many think that friends will be disappointed by the present. And we do not count those who will ignore the « beautiful » gifts due to lack of funds.

So how do you do it? 12% plan to buy via the Internet, and 28% will not bother simply offering a gift card, in order to avoid disappointment.

So if, in the store, you see hesitant customers, or even tense… Don’t panic, it’s normal, they are in doubt and are not even sure of their choices.

Smile! 

Under these conditions, the tension could become palpable between salespeople and consumers in physical stores. Many managers would like better empathy and more availability from their salespeople towards customers. But when we know these salespeople, we know that they are often millennials with the same codes of thought as our young customers. Technologically oriented, these customers aged 35 and under seem difficult to satisfy, in particular for “not very expressive” points of sale. The constantly talked about customer experience involves changing all the codes of traditional distribution. We are no longer in a warehouse but in a place of seduction. That’s for the customer, but what about the seller? Who’s talking about the seller experience? We have in front of us employees who have come to the world of the garden or the pet store out of passion. They find themselves with the advantage of working on Sundays, of undergoing growing pressure from consumers in doubt, of respecting barrier gestures, of being available for sale while cleaning the shelves of plants… It is up to them to go get the carts of plants to recharge and water them… Fortunately, they are well paid 🥴! And of course, we ask them to smile! It’s not complicated though 😏?

The Robot solution 

It’s simple, hire a robot! For the unfortunate sum of 20,000 euros, you will have a little smiling character permanently. And in the field, changes are going very quickly. If you have a lot of money, invite Ameca, the newborn from British start-up Engineered Arts, which offers a humanoid robot that is more real than real. His gaze and expression are “natural” or almost. One thing is certain, he won’t be sick, maybe broken down, at most. He will always have the smile that you programmed him to do, no mood swings, no doubts, no resentment or fatigue … He is programmed, at least this one, for empathy. It will appeal to customers. If we come back to our 20,000 euros, it’s a classic, you will be able to benefit from Pepper in your shop. Aldebaran’s flagship product is now well established in distribution. He answers your questions, keeps you waiting, walks you around the store, presents new products and promotions … And if you download the Smart Pepper app, you will become his friend! All with a kindness worthy of a nice robot, as we see in the films of nice robots 😻!

Emotion! 

The solution is simple, with a robot at the reception and automatic checkouts at the exit, humans are avoided in the point of sale. The latter will be there to manage and put on the shelves while waiting for the arrival of the robot-facing! Amazon did it in the USA, Auchan and Carrefour are in the test on the subject. The physical store without human presence would be the worthy descendants of the online sales site. In this already mapped out future, filled with machines, one element is missing that makes the strength of customer relations: emotion. Positive or negative, emotion remains at the heart of our sharing. And in hobbies such as the garden, the plants or the pet store where the purchase is guided by this same emotion, it is this which can become the engine of our professions 😃😩😲. Lower prices, trade negotiations, promotions, minimum wages… Our logic is often based on price. But imagine for a second that the motivation to buy comes through sharing a common passion, have we taken the right direction? What if, in order to develop the garden business, we had to think about “emotion”, with laughter… And tears? The robot is a mechanical solution. By giving the means to the teams and not to the machines, we could offer a new distribution on a Human « size »! It is still time ?

 

Roland Motte… Gardener !

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