Shoppers more ‘Connected’ than Sales Staff: Survey

Jan 25, 2011 — Allan Pulga

For some time now, we’ve been reporting on how today’s customer is more informed than ever (see Shopping Apps and Pre-Purchase Research). Shoppers are increasingly doing online research – reading reviews, perusing discussion boards and comparing prices – before coming into the store do make a purchase. Some customers go so far as to look up product info on their smartphone (often using shopping apps) while they’re browsing in the store.

A recent Motorola Solutions survey found that 55 percent of retailers believe shoppers are actually better connected to information than store associates. More troubling perhaps, is the finding that 87 percent of retailers surveyed agree that shoppers can easily find a better deal.

The survey also found:

  • Customers generally consult online shopping tools and price-comparison smartphone apps more than salespeople do.
  • Customers are generally more aware of coupon deals and social-networking promotions than salespeople are.
  • Retailers aren’t investing in technology to stay ahead of tech-savvy shoppers.
  • 28 percent of walk-outs ended with an average of $132 unspent due to deal-habituated behavior, out-of-stocks, limited salesperson assistance and long check-out processes.

What can retailers do to counter this information advantage?

According to Motorola Solutions, the survey’s findings point to a need to empower the mobile worker.

  • More than half of surveyed retail associates said they had little time to help customers because of pressure to get other tasks completed.

The survey also identified a need to enable real-time inventory information.

  • 34 percent of surveyed retail managers cited frustration when alerted of an out-of-stock after getting complaints, instead of knowing ahead of time.
  • 55 percent of out-of-stock lost sales could be recovered by salesperson intervention (e.g. tracking down the item at another store location).
  • 68 percent of surveyed retail associates suggest having a handheld mobile device, that could scan barcodes to check inventory, would help.

Motorola Solutions also suggests retailers engage the connected shopper.

  • In-store smartphone research influenced 39 percent of walk-outs; 12 percent went online to check other retailers’ prices; 8 percent checked product availability at other stores.
  • Nearly 25 percent of surveyed shoppers said they would likely do business with a salesperson equipped with a handheld payment terminal to complete their purchase; only 9 percent said they would likely use their own smartphone to scan items and process payment without assistance.

Motorola Solutions used this study to position its new line of handheld salesperson devices, which it revealed at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show 2011, held Jan. 9-12 in New York City. The company showcased its Next Generation Enterprise Mobility line, which includes: the DS9208 presentation imager, the DS4208 handheld imager and the MC9090-G handheld barcode reader. As Nathesh of TMCnet reported (Jan. 11), Motorola is promoting this new line as tools to “transform enterprises into even more productive and profitable businesses.”

**To engage the connected shopper, XQ Interactive Retail from iQmetrix brings the process of buying a phone to life in the hands of the consumer. The traditional retail environment virtually transforms into an interactive playground allowing customers to explore like never before. Answers to their questions are literally at their fingertips. 

To better equip front-end staff with inventory counts and product information, XQ Interactive Retail integrates directly with several back-end systems, such as the iQ Catalog and RQ4, to ensure that all in-store content is fresh, relevant and up-to-date.

To learn more about iQmetrix’s XQ Interactive Retail products, visit www.iQmetrix.com/products/xq, e-mail sales@iQmetrix.com or call 1-866-iQmetrix (476-3874).

Topics: Retail Operations, Mobile Industry, Customer Experience, e-Commerce

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