11 Jul Tech Tuesday: Goodbye Sales Force, Hello Pepper
A few short years ago, people were concerned with how the advancements in technology and electronics would change their lives. We worried about displacing workers with machinery as we started the second wave of the Industrial Revolution.
What if we told you that one day – soon – people would no longer be required to interact with your customers? If you are completely at a loss to imagine a world where sales people are not needed, then you have not been on the internet lately. With the creation of Amazon and eBay, the person we define as a salesperson disappeared years ago to be replaced by a shopping cart.
This was the first step of technology into the world of retail sales and the global marketplace. When McDonald’s put in place their touchscreen kiosks, many customers recoiled with fury at the thought that someone behind the counter could so easily be replaced.
The truth is that the combination of computers in every home and smartphones in every hand is turning our world into an on-demand buying network that no longer needs or wants human contact to make a sale.
As shoppers start to integrate machinery into their lives more and more, it will become less of a jump to see machinery in the marketplace.
For example, for the newest addition to the retail market by RobotsLAB & CurveTips, let’s meet Pepper.
Pepper is designed to interact with shoppers, help them find merchandise, and make suggestions based on queries. In this way, Pepper is a sales force all by herself. The shopper gets personalized attention without feeling the pressure of a hovering salesperson who needs to make a sale.
If a business uses sales or marketing materials with QR or barcodes, customers can receive automated product information.
As well, there are several advantages to Pepper instead of a human sales person:
- Training. There is no need to go through the trial and error of training a sales force. Once optimized, Pepper’s program can be duplicated in new versions and systems.
- Language Options. Pepper does not need to be taught multiple languages. She can be uploaded with a set of primary language choices.
- Human Issues. Pepper might have maintenance days, but sick days and vacation days are almost out of the question, right?
The Shift in Global Marketing Efforts
Buyers want a streamline customer service experience without long lines and excessive wait times. In fact, buyers often purchase products without talking to a salesperson. For many buyers, the first stop for research and reviews of a product is as close as they laptop or their phone.
Consider these stats:
- “Sixty percent begin by using a search engine to find the products they want, and 61 percent will read product reviews before making any purchase.” (Source: Adweek)
- “81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying.” (Source: Adweek)
- “Half of shoppers spend at least 75% of their total shopping time conducting online research.” (Source: Hubspot)
When these two stats combine, this means your global marketing efforts must make a shift to complete the sales process. Of course, these advantages sound incredible from the marketing side.
- CONTENT. Online content IS STILL KING. The production of online content will continue to play an even greater role when a virtual salesperson is used in shops and businesses. Your online product information should be complete and exhaustive in all languages. You will have to produce more content to compensate the lack of information at the POS.
- CONTACT. In absence of human salespersons, the purchase decisions will be taken more and more online. You need to be sure your online content answers all possible questions and address all concerns of a potential buyer. In a global automated economy, translation and transcreation must be on point to make the sale because there is not a backup plan that includes a sales person.
- COMFORT. As we move into a technological sales channel, marketing materials must meet the customer in their own comfort zone for language, technology, and cultural references to be successful. For a website delivery system, like Amazon or eBay, this is easily controlled by a one-time setting of customer preferences. As these retail giants set the standard for shopping expectation, everyone else must follow to be competitive.
Customers are more likely to buy a product when the marketing and sales information is in their own language. This is where accurate and effective globalization makes the difference in a brick and mortar store. Your sales materials, whether online or delivered through Pepper, must be ready to invite buyers to engage in the sales process. This is where transcreation plays an important role.
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