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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

Research highlights widening instore information gap

Tuesday June 14 2011

Retailers must find new ways for store staff to add value to shopper experience

Retailers must find new ways for store staff to add value to shopper experience


Online and social media channels mean that consumers are better informed than many retail store staff according to new research from RSR, sponsored by RedPrairie.


In looking at the role of the retail store in the multichannel shopping experience, the research highlighted a widening information gap between consumers and store employees, with most consumers walking into stores armed with reviews, ratings, price comparisons and detailed product information. By contrast, just 35% of retailers provided store staff with instore access to this information.


Equipping staff with knowledge


Andrew Kirkwood, RedPrairie’s senior vice president and executive director in Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “Retailers are recognising that, if their customers are using technology to effectively train themselves on all aspects of the products they are looking to purchase, then they must equip and train store staff to add value in other ways.


“As a minimum, retailers must achieve parity of access to information between employee and shopper. However, there is also an opportunity to use information to which shoppers do not have ready access in order to return store assistants to a relevant role in the shopper experience. This includes information about stock availability and forthcoming deliveries.”


Necessary multichannel investment


The research went on to identify an opportunity in returning the ‘service’ to customer service, by allowing store associates to hold inventory or outright sell inventory in other channels, through ‘endless aisle’ or ‘save the sale’ capabilities.


Kirkwood concluded: “While all of this requires internal transparency and there are barriers such as the capital requirements of providing mobile devices, infrastructure requirements and employee training, both the store and the store employee must be properly connected with the online space in order to offer consumers a genuine ‘buy anywhere, get anywhere’ shopping experience.”