Consumers these days are quite demanding. In its 2018 Shopper Vision Study, Zebra Technology found that consumers equipped with smartphones expect fast, convenient, information-rich and connected shopping experiences that are uniquely relevant to them in store, online and via their mobile devices.
They have less tolerance for ”longtime retail pain points that fail to meet their on-demand shopping needs.”
When asked about how well connected they are with merchandise information they can find on the Internet, only 44% of shoppers believe they are better connected than store associates, compared to 61% in 2011.
An interesting statistics is how this number breaks down with the different ages of the shoppers. While 26% Boomers and 42% Gen Xers feel their skills are better than employees, 53% of millennials are confident of their stronger skills.
But for those stores who do have store associates able to use technology 60% of shoppers say store associates who use mobile devices for customer assistance improve their shopping experience
When faced with out-of-stock inventory in store, consumers want retailers to step in with immediate solutions, and see technology as the answer. More than half of shoppers believe technology is critical to improving the shopping experience. Consumers surveyed said that while shopping, they most value staff armed with a mobile device to access information on in-store product availability and price, and offer services such home delivery to an out-of-stock item.
As a result, smart retailers are empowering front-line associates with mobile computers and tablets that make it easy to conduct inventory and price checks, scan coupons and communicate across the sales floor and the stockroom without ever having to leave the customer’s side. They are also working behind the scenes to reduce out of stocks and boost inventory accuracy to better locate merchandise, whether it’s in a warehouse, in the stockroom or on the sales floor.
Shoppers value connected store environments that empower sales associates with digital tools to provide concierge-like services. Clienteling, the one-on-one service offered by personal shoppers who have long served consumers at upscale department stores and independent boutiques, is now being democratized via technology. Indeed, 62% of those surveyed appreciate associates’ in-store use of handheld mobile devices that are equipped with clienteling tools. With a handheld device, a sales associate can send a text message to a shopper with a penchant for ditzy prints and special-occasion dressing or a promotional offer for a holiday floral dress from her favorite designer, drawing from past purchases and her browsing history on the company’s website.