When Your Customers Know More Than Your Salespeople
By Christopher Krywulak, iQmetrix President and CEO
Contributed article to MarketingProfs, Published on October 21, 2011
In this article, you’ll learn…
- A host of findings from nine studies
- Five elements of a good shopping experience
- How new technologies can enhance the in-store customer experience
Consumers’ in-store expectations have changed as online shopping has become more prevalent. Before entering a store, consumers can use the Web and mobile devices to determine the product they want, the price they are willing to pay, and the most convenient location to purchase it.
Today, buyers are looking for accessible and engaging in-store experiences. Shoppers expect the convenience of shopping online while taking advantage of the benefits in-person shopping offers, such as the ability to try a product firsthand.
Technology plays a significant role in consumers’ certainty about a product: 60% of shoppers in a study said online reviews were more significant than traditional media, in-store employees, and social networking.1
Shoppers would rather research products on the Internet than talk to in-store staff according to the same study, and 51% of customers said online reviews written by consumers provide more influence toward purchasing a product, according to another survey.2
Bridging the Information Gap Between Sales Staff and Consumers
- 55% of retailers say customers are more connected to data than to store associates.3
- 87% of retailers agree that consumers who use online shopping tools and price-comparison applications can find better deals more easily.3
In-store smartphone research influences 39% of walkouts:
- 12% of customers compare retailer prices online.3
- 8% of customers check product availability at other retailers’ stores.3
- 49% percent of customers use two or more (mobile, online, or in-store kiosk) channels to shop, a 36% increase from 2009 to 2010.4
- 39% read eight or more reviews in 2010 (versus 22% in 2007).5
- 57% consult online reviews and peer recommendations prior to buying electronics.6
- 41% are more likely to share negative product experiences online via Twitter or by writing a review.6
Sales Teams Must Be Better Equipped With Product Information
- Engagement: Being polite, caring, and interested in customers while being available to help and listen
- Brand experience: Giving customers an exciting shopping layout and consistent product quality, and helping customers feel that they are special
- Execution: Offering patient advice and explanations, checking product availability, sharing product knowledge, and providing product quality when it’s unexpected
- Expediting: Being considerate of customers’ time, being aware of long checkout lines, and speeding up the shopping process
- Problem recovery: Helping to resolve and providing compensation for problems, upgrading quality, and ensuring complete shopper satisfaction
- 28% of walkouts ended with an average of $132 unspent due to limited sales assistance, out-of-stock products, and long checkout processes.
- More than 50% of associates said they didn’t have much time to help shoppers because of the need to complete alternate tasks.
- Retailers have not yet invested in technology that meets the price-comparison demands of tech-savvy shoppers.
Limited Selection/Out of Stocks
- 34% of retail managers cited frustration when told about an out-of-stock product after getting complaints instead of knowing ahead of time.
- Pull customers into the store. Interactive displays draw customers in with attractive ads and intriguing moving images.
- Deliver the convenience and information of online and mobile-shopping experiences. Interactive retail increases conversion rates and cross-selling by displaying relevant and timely product information and reviews, as well as in-store promotions, to customers.
- Deliver a personalized mobile-shopping experience. Digital screens and integrated software enable retailers to customize the experience of each shopper, maximizing customer profile information, purchase history, inventory data, and more.
- Keep customers engaged while in-store. Solutions available to retailers today give customers the opportunity to entertain and educate themselves while waiting to speak to a sales associate.
- Expedite and facilitate the mobile-shopping process. Those services provide dynamic sales aides to communicate product benefits and speed up the sales cycle.
2Deloitte: Why Wi-Fi (in stores) Study, January 2011
3IBM Survey: Capitalizing on the Smarter Consumer, December 2010
4e-tailing group/PowerReviews Social Shopping Study, May 2011
5Nielsen Global Online Shopping Study, March 2010
6Accenture Survey: Carriers Say Retail Channel Is Essential to Success, September 2010
7Wharton Study of Great Retail Shopping Experiences in North America, May 2009
8Consumer Reports Survey: Phone Buying Experience, May 2010
9Motorola Solutions Survey: Shoppers Better Connected than Store Associates, January 2011