Young Shoppers Think They Know Best

Level of frustration seen with sales staff

November 21, 2017

Bad news for retailers: Younger shoppers generally think they know better than the retail staffers trying to help them.

A worldwide survey by Zebra Technologies found that a majority of internet users ages 20 to 36 think they have access to better information than store staff and can find information more quickly by using their smartphones than by asking for sales help. 

Meanwhile, while 55% of respondents in that age range also think that store apps are easier to use than asking for help, even more (59%) say that web searches are more informative than store websites.

Older shoppers were significantly less likely to feel they were better off using personal technology than asking for help in stores. 

But the questions seemed to elicit a sense of frustration with traditional sales help among the younger shoppers. One bit of good news for retailers is that more than half of the younger shoppers said they have a better experience in stores where sales assistants "use the latest technology."

Overall, about two-thirds of the respondents said they were at least somewhat satisfied with the general in-store shopping experience. Zebra said that in-store dissatisfaction has fallen from the 2000s but has risen in the past few years, which it blamed on retail underinvestment "amid rising shopper expectations."

Among US retail staffers who have access to company-issued mobile devices, the tasks performed are fairly straightforward, according to a September 2017 Tulip Retail survey. Nearly three-quarters of respondents use the devices to access product catalogs and product information, the survey found. 

While 35% of those polled said they use the devices to communicate with customers, only 13% said they use them to learn more about customers and their purchases.


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