At Tulip, we believe that enabling your store associates with mobile technology is the single-most effective tactic to drive the greatest lift in sales conversions and brand loyalty.
But you need to have these eight key elements in order to build or buy a store associate app project that will succeed:
Must-Have #1: Define a project Champion
Not having a clearly defined owner or executive sponsor to drive the project forward is like building a house on sand. From a skill and strategy standpoint, building a store associate app requires organizational learning, employee and managerial adoption, and a shift in your business culture.
The role of the store associate is changing across the industry, going from a purely transactional function to evolving into one that is expected to provide recommendations, give advice, and build long-lasting relationships with customers. Project champions and executive sponsors are invaluable in helping to educate the business and to define a new philosophy about this evolving intersection between the physical store, the store associate, and their customers.
Must-Have #2: Put your A-Team in place
You’ve got your champion, but you need an A-team to execute and bring the store associate app to fruition. Building this team can mean two things: internally, having the subject matter experts, stakeholders, champions, and developers; or externally, working with the service provider or development team.
Must-Have #3: Centralize and normalize disparate sources of data
An effective store associate app relies on the accessibility, accuracy, performance, and frequency at which the data is being served. These several sources of data need to be consolidated into one place and normalized so that it is consistent across all channels. It’s also imperative to determine at the onset of the project, who in the business will be the master around the logic and data, as well as which system will be the master system of record.
Must-Have #4: Successfully integrate across complex systems, autoscale, and comply with security guidelines
What makes this kind of deployment so complex is that it requires integration across multiple silos within the retail business: store operations, training, ecommerce, IT, inventory, supply chain. There are anywhere between eight-to-ten different systems, and we’ve even seen upwards of 20 systems in a single project, whose data all need to be centralized and normalized. Keeping in mind that none of these systems were originally designed to even talk to mobile apps, or to handle the number of requests required, nor scale to a project of this size and scope. Think about the sheer amount of data in any given retail environment. It’s not uncommon for us to see more than a million SKUs, each with its own variations, as well as millions of transactional records. How do you make this data searchable, accessible, and consistent?
- Must-Have #5: Connected business processes
- Must-Have #6: Decide on the kind of device, form factor, and accessories
- Must-Have #7: Get store associate buy-in and encourage on-going training
- Must-Have #8: Functional requirements document to mitigate scope creep