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07/28/2021

Lamps Plus serves online customers with store associates

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Lamps Plus hybrid agent

The nation's largest specialty lighting retailer is having select brick-and-mortar employees also serve as e-commerce customer care agents.

Los Angeles-based Lamps Plus is hiring sales associates to serve dual roles as both brick-and-mortar retail store associates and customer care agents. With complementary talents, these agents are placed in the company’s 36 stores to advise customers through outside sales skills and e-commerce customers via inside sales skills.

Identified by Lamps Plus as hybrid sales agents, these employees fluctuate between the showroom store floor and the store backroom office. During slower customer traffic days, typically certain weekdays, agents may focus on helping LampsPlus.com customers via phone and online chats.

The hybrid sales agent initiative follows a focus on store innovation using technology, including implementing the ability for customers to receive a one-to-one custom expert lighting consultation through phone or text. Hybrid store associates were introduced to extend the use of flexibility and technology further to enhance the shopping experience.

On high-traffic store days, usually weekends and Fridays, these specialized agents are dedicated to the store floor to assist in-person customers. However, each agent’s versatility enables them to serve the most critical customer sales needs at any moment, regardless of the daily schedule.

Lamps Plus has identified an additional benefit of Texas- and Colorado-based hybrid sales agents, better serving East Coast customers with customer service agents available throughout each day during the Central and Mountain Time Zones. The company has also been adding remote sales agents to East Coast states, where there are no stores, to better serve national customers.

In addition to hybrid store agents serving consumers, Lamps Plus has tested placing agents from its professional trade division, Lamps Plus Pros, in stores to serve professional customers, such as builders, contractors and interior designers. Typically remote positions, these agents will serve Pros customer accounts throughout the nation, while being situated in a store location.

The company currently has a hybrid sales agent in 16 stores and three online chat agents. Each of the 36 Lamps Plus stores across the Western U.S. is expected to have at least one hybrid sales agent by the end of 2021.

“Just as we value athletes who excel in multiple abilities in their sport, our hybrid store agents are becoming extremely important by offering previously unavailable sales opportunities both in our stores and remotely through the phone and online chat,” said Terre Wellington, senior VP of store operations. “As an omnichannel retailer, we need to be ready to serve customers wherever they are. When customers arrive at our stores, we expect to help them solve their home lighting challenges with highly trained sales experts. When customers access our website or call us, we expect the exact same experience.”

The company spends at least four weeks to train each hybrid sales agent, the same amount of time it spends training every store and call center employee. According to Lamps Plus, the hybrid sales agent training is slightly more intense to cover both roles.