Face-to-face sales assistance still essential to the shopping experience

According to a recently commissioned consumer survey report from Euclid Analytics—a research company that provides essential visitor insights to power personalized experiences, long-lasting loyalty and online-to-offline attribution for retailers—consumers still prefer human interaction despite the fact that 90% of retail shoppers report using smartphones in stores.

According to a recent study, both men and women still prefer human interaction before making a sale. - DR

For the report, Euclid Analytics conducted two separate research studies that were separated by gender. The survey was conducted in September of 2016 and encompassed responses from about 1,500 U.S. consumers—49% men and 51% women—from various diverse age groups, regions, household incomes and shopping preferences. The second survey conducted in February of this year included the same number of responses, but a slightly different male to female ratio—43% men and 57% women.

The results signified variances between how men and women use their phones in a retail environment. For example, women are more likely than men to call, email or text someone while shopping (57% of the women vs. 47% of the men). Women are also more likely to check email promotions (41% vs. 29%), take pictures of products (42% vs. 30%), and seek the advice of their friends and family regarding potential purchases (37% vs. 24%). The report notes that women also consider shopping a social experience while men just want to get in and get out. With the exception of looking things up on Google (41% of the men vs. 37% of the women conduct online research), men use their smartphones less than women.
Despite the use of smartphones on both sides, the report cites that technology comes second to interacting with a real sales associate firsthand—73% of the men vs. 65% of the women. The phones are merely a vehicle to learn more about products. When it comes to the advantages of shopping in a physical retail store, both men and women said they prefer being able to try on clothing—to include suggestions from sales staff—at 55% and 65% respectively. There was also an even 40% interest regarding in-store only promotions.

In conclusion, salespeople are not evaporating despite what is reported by the media. Despite slight nuances, men and women are in agreement—half the men and 40% of the women— that they still want to interact with an actual human and have no interest in stores like Amazon Go that lack in this service.

Even so, Euclid Analytics suggests that retailers use technology to enhance human interaction rather than just eliminating one or the other. For example, focusing on a sensory shopping experience that isn’t possible online while leveraging smartphone technology to seamlessly connect with sales associates, thus imparting a win-win relationship.

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