Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you.
That’s the tune that a lot of consumers with smart devices in hand may be metaphorically singing to store associates in today’s brick-and-mortar retail locations. With access to any information at their fingertips, it’s hard for consumers not to be in this mindset.
Research from retail mobile platform company Tulip Retail shows most consumers do online research before visiting stores and 83 percent feel they’re more knowledgable than retail workers. While this may be true in some cases, the study also revealed the importance put on store associates’ knowledge, with 79 percent of consumers giving it a high priority.
Another major concern for most retailers, the possibility of e-commerce taking over physical store locations entirely, was addressed in this study. It found 64 percent believe brick-and-mortar will add to the shopping experience moving forward while 63 percent prefer a dual shopping experience of online and in-store visits.
Tulip Retail’s CEO, Ali Asaria, comments on the importance of providing quality customer service in physical locations to help attract and retain customers. He said “Our survey had some sobering findings that should keep executives of brick-and-mortar retailers up at night – including the fact that nearly 90% of respondents shop at Amazon and that store associates are not meeting customer expectations. But there’s also some really good news for retailers that our survey uncovered – knowledgeable store associates are valued by shoppers, and those empowered with mobile technology are delivering better shopping experiences. Bottom line, investing in store associates needs to be a high priority. With the right tools, they can become beacons of knowledge, trusted advisors and drive sales.”
This means retailers will need to invest in quality employees in for their brick-and-mortar locations. In addition to this, the retail training system may need an overhaul with the addition of bi-weekly or monthly tests on merchandise to ensure employees are up to speed at all times.