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Great sales don’t come just from having a great product

If you are going to bust targets then you need a great product. That’s fine if you’re the new kid on the block, but if you’ve been about for a bit, then you need something else – great people making the right decisions.

fashion magazine

During January retailers have been announcing how well or badly their performance was over the Christmas period. Predictably online sales are flourishing and some are finding it harder than ever within store. All this is a growing trend and has been well documented in the press.

Perhaps the leader in this growth of online sales is Asos who announced last week that their sales surged by 38% year on year for the four months to the end of 2013.

This, even by the curve created by the masses is astonishing and we’re proud to have played our part in helping this happen.

There are many contributing factors to this sales leap – introducing click and collect, their explosion into emerging markets (apparently they didn’t spend a cent on ATL marketing to launch in Australia because their social presence was already so well established).

But, what about the employees?

Well, first they need to understand how you operate. You want everyone understanding the values and behaving the same way. It’s something I’ve seen done most successfully when you help employees tell the story to themselves. We did this for one record-breaking retailer by creating a film that was aired during their company meeting at a major cinema in Piccadilly. We asked employees a series of questions related to each of the new values and filmed their responses – the passion and enthusiasm was infectious and it ended up being played 5 or 6 times at the event. It was used time and time again and was far more effective than the corporate voice.

Secondly, employees need to know who they are targeting. Using film and environmental branding can remind employees every day who the target audience is – in Asos’s case they’ve got their eye squarely fixed on young 20 something fashion conscious first jobbers – clearly they’ve brought these to life their demographic.

And lastly, you need a decent tool to share knowledge quickly – an intranet. Asos have recently built their first intranet – a simple space where key information can live and can be referenced, from site reports and statistics to customer profiling and personas. Clearly it is working for them. This one central place where they can galvanise the staff in living the values – they call it the Asos Way – and keeping the audience front of mind is essential.

There are of course many levers in engaging employees – reward, recognition, learning and development to name three more, but these three pieces of communication work have obviously played their part in having an impact on the end customer. This, in turn, helps employees keep why they do what they do and who they do it for at the front of their mind.

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