April 1, 2009, 12:00 AM

Information, Please

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But who gets credit for that payment-the store or the web? The answer can be tricky, Roots has found. “If a web site gets credit instead of a store for an in-store online purchase, the salespeople might not be pushing e-commerce as much as they should,” Connell says. “Or they may recommend the shopper go to another store where his friend is working.” Because of this, Roots is changing its system so that when a customer places a web order from a store, the store gets credit for the sale.

Business versus pleasure

While access to the Internet can boost sales, it also can hurt productivity, Connell says. That’s why Roots is trying to make sure sales associates aren’t abusing their web privileges. The retailer restricts web access to the Roots.com web site, Canada’s Globe and Mail online newspaper and a few other sites. Still, he knows there are loopholes. “It’s obviously a lot more appealing to surf Roots.com than fold clothes,” Connell says.

But spending a reasonable amount of time surfing Roots.com can be good, he adds. For example, if an associate peruses the ratings and reviews and question-and-answer sections of Roots.com, he can beef up his knowledge about products or recommend an up-sell because he’s seen comments about products that go well together.

Information is power. And ready access to all the information on the web can be a potent tool for store employees.

katie@verticalwebmedia.com

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