Despite the ubiquity of online shopping, consumers still rely on face-to-face interaction in the path to purchase, whether it be for getting product information, seeing in-person demos or tracking down items in other stores. Shoppers—especially younger ones—still enjoy the in-store experience.
According to a recent study by BookingBug, 44.7% of US consumers said it was important to speak with someone during their final purchase decision.
Knowledgeable, well-trained sales associates were the differentiating factor for boomers; 62.7% said this was valuable when choosing one business over another. Meanwhile, more than a quarter of millennials (27.6%) expected retailers to have personalized insights into their shopping or service history.
But, not all businesses are prepared to give consumers what they need.
There is a gap between consumer expectations and retail realities, according to separate November 2018 research from Zebra Technologies. Many retail executives and sales associates agree that shoppers could have a better experience if associates are equipped with technology. However, 51% of shoppers worldwide think they are better connected with their smartphones than with sales associates during their shopping experience.
Of those retail store associates surveyed, nearly half (49%) feel overworked, 42% are frustrated because they do not have enough time to assist customers, and 28% said it's hard to access information to help shoppers. Sixty-six percent feel that they could provide better customer service if they were equipped with tablets.