Post Categories: September 2016

Executive Perspectives: From the President

Engaging Customers.

Driving Sales.

As the fourth quarter of the year approaches, our teams are working hard to ensure that we have the people and resources necessary to meet the demands of the busy holiday season. At this time we are also looking ahead, planning for the needs of 2017. These discussions give rise to concerns not unlike those of most businesses: allocating sufficient budgets and lining up the right resources to enable optimal results. When we think of resources, we usually tend to consider the material, the things which enable us to be successful. But what is really a business’ most important resource? It’s the people we hire and how they engage with customers that matters most.

Just last week, I set out to serve as a Sales Advisor for the day. I donned the gloves, the apron, the visor and the smile that our Sales Advisors wear day in and day out and set out to engage with customers. I cut up pieces of string cheese and placed them in front of customers before telling them the nutritional benefits, how much they cost, where they were located and reminding them: “They’re good for the kids!”

It was my primary goal to get their attention in a friendly and inviting manner so that I could connect with them, even if it was just for a brief moment. It was this connection that encouraged them to try a sample and take a look at the product. Some customers thought the pack was too large; some loved it and asked me to point out where they were; others had no intent to buy but were more than ready to enjoy the snack.

With each experience I learned that it was okay that not everyone was going to take a pack home, and I focused on providing an engaging experience. One lady stopped to thank me for being vigilant about ensuring no kids were consuming the product until I had verified with the parents that they were not allergic to dairy. Another proceeded to tell me how much he loved our Sales Advisors, and went on to name all of them, showering accolades on my colleague in the opposite aisle. There was another who cared to ask me if I liked what I was doing. And the surprising thing was that after those brief moments of quality engagement, the customers who were not planning to buy the cheese went ahead and bought some!

bharatRupaniThe experience was fulfilling not just because it provided me with valuable insights into the most critical job in our company, engaging consumers. I learned just as much from the customers as I did filling the role of a Sales Advisor for the day.

Effective marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. Sincere engagement has the power to influence purchase decisions unlike any other marketing method out there. I am reminded of the words of Teddy Roosevelt: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

For retailers implementing plans for the busy shopping season, now is the time to consider how you train your people to engage and connect with customers. The experiences provided and memorable connections made can and do make all the difference!

I’m grateful for all the Sales Advisors, Brand Ambassadors and team members who work hard daily to connect with customers. I enjoyed sharing in the experience for the day and I very much look forward to the next time.

Best regards,


Bharat Rupani
President Retail Services