Doug Tucker, managing director of sales and training organisation Sales Commando, talks about the hidden time bomb in booming internet sales…
I’ve long been fascinated by the rise and rise in internet sales.
After all, the figures speak for themselves, and the 2013 Christmas period was – like any – year-on-year better than the year before.
Here’s proof: during the latest Christmas period, High Street sales rose by 0.4 per cent and internet sales grew by 19.2 per cent.
Around Q4 and Q1 of each following year, newspapers are full to bursting with reports that internet sales have increased and that administrators are walking regularly into some of our once favourite High Street retailers.
In my opinion, this is simply transference of business. People have shifted from the High Street onto the internet. And this is where the time bomb is ticking.
The same customer who has moved from the High Street to your online outlet is the same customer who demands equal and immediate access to sales, delivery and complaints folk; who demands the same level of customer service that they had on the High Street.
Oh boy, they’re itching to ditch you and move on if they’re unhappy, just as they ever were on the cobbles. But here is the difference – they can now leave a very public negative comment or one star review on their way out. And all that hard work you’ve put in to maintain and heighten your reputation and develop your brand’s positioning can begin to unravel in a heartbeat.
The internet’s immediacy can – as many firms can testify – be very costly indeed.
This is why sales training for online business is as essential as it has ever been for anything that happens or happened offline. Firms need to invest in new training programmes in order to provide the best advice and direction in context with the demand that we’re now experiencing from online retailers – and that new context is telephone sales.
The paradox, of course, is that many online retailers welcome the customer-less selling environment of the internet. A pretty website and a quick automated sales function and who cares?
I know who does: the customer, and as always, High Street or online, the customer will always be king.