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motorola-retailer-v-consumer-product-awareness-jan11.gifThe majority of surveyed retail associates (55%) believe that this holiday season’s shoppers were better connected to consumer information than in-store associates, according to a new study from Motorola Solutions. This includes 38% who completely agree and 17% who somewhat agree. In addition, another 26% neither agree nor disagree with the statement, meaning only one in five (19%) have some level of disagreement, with only 4% completely disagreeing.

Customer Service Value Increases

Somewhat paradoxically, the survey indicates this increased customer access to information makes providing quality customer service more, rather than less, important. For example, when surveyed shoppers received guidance from a retail associate armed with a handheld mobile computer, more than four in 10 (43%) reported the device improved their shopping experience. And nearly 25% of surveyed shoppers said they would be very likely to take advantage of a sales associate using a handheld payment terminal to complete their purchase, compared to only 9% who would be very likely to use their own mobile phone to scan their items and process payment without assistance.

The survey also found that an overwhelming majority of retailers (87%) believe that shoppers can easily find a better deal so customer service, aided by access to real-time information, is “more important than ever.” Two-thirds (68%) of surveyed retail associates would find the capability to scan barcodes to check inventory and availability of items requested by customers helpful in a small mobile device form factor that is deployed to every associate.

Lack of Engagement Has Consequences

Not engaging shoppers, with or without mobile devices, produces negative consequences, according to study data. Twenty-eight percent of store visits ended with an average of $132 unspent due to abandoned purchases driven by deal-habituated behavior, out-of-stocks, limited store associate assistance and long check-out processes. Shoppers with smartphones used their device to influence 39% of their walk-out incidents; meanwhile 12% checked prices at other retailers online and 8% checked availability at other stores.

In one specific example of how providing store associates with better access to real-time data can improve sales, 55% of losses due to out-of-stocks could very likely be recovered with store associate interventions. That is, when store associates have the capability to track down the item and offer a solution, most customers will complete their purchase with that retailer.

Other Findings

  • More than half of surveyed retail associates voiced that they had little time to help customers because of pressure to get other tasks completed.
  • 85% of surveyed retail associates agreed that improving in-store communication between staff and managers would have a significant effect on customer satisfaction.
  • 34%of surveyed retail managers cited frustration when alerted they need to replenish stock after getting complaints, instead of knowing ahead of time.
  • Mobile Retailing on the Rise

    Consumers are using mobile phones for retail-related activities at an increasing level, according to a new study from ForeSee Results. The US edition of the “ForeSee Results Report on Mobile Shopping” indicates that 33% of all survey respondents had accessed a retailer’s website using a mobile phone (compared to 24% in 2009), and an additional 26% said that they plan to use their mobile phone to visit a company’s website, mobile website, or mobile application in the future. In other words, more than half of all online shoppers are either already using or plan to use their phones for retail purposes.

    About the Data: Surveys were completed online from Dec. 2 through Dec. 17, 2010 by 1,056 shoppers and 545 store associates.

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