Remembering Its Roots
One of the toughest
elements for any retailer to transfer from the store to the web is customer
At the heart of the retailers site is technology from Guidester Inc. that asks shoppers questions about the type of product they are looking for, how they intend to use it, brand preference, price range, etc., just like an in-store sales representative would. With each answer the number of SKUs per category is whittled down before the customers eyes, making it easier to zero in on the right product.
Taking the time to discuss with the customer what they want in a product and show choices within those parameters is at the heart of what retail is all about, says Stephen Baker, vice president, industry analysis for NPD Group Inc., a Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research firm. Good retailers like Abt are able to transfer that philosophy to any sales channel.
The decision to install Guidester was based on providing a way to sort through the more than 10,000 SKUs Abt offers. Guidester is such a powerful tool that Abts in-store sales representatives use it, according to Jon Abt, co-president of Abt Electronics. Looking at hundreds of SKUs in a category can have shoppers asking Where do I begin and we didnt want that, says Abt. We want to replicate the in-store experience our sales representatives provide in guiding customers to the right product.
The same premium is
placed on customer service, which is divided into sales and service, and
delivered through live chat. As part of its post-sales care, Abt will
set up service calls for customers living outside the Chicago area rather
than direct them to the manufacturer. We are
It is an old school approach to retailing that plays well on the web.
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