NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Sep 28, 2016) - The 2016 Omnichannel Retail Associate Study released today by Salesfloor, a leading retail technology provider, identifies a significant gap in online and brick-and mortar shopping experiences, and a growing demand for improved sales and service from retailers. According to the study, 58% of shoppers say online shopping lacks the level of service offered in stores, particularly recommendations and guidance from associates, which shoppers still expect to receive when they shop online.
When visiting retail store locations, 84 percent of shoppers seek out help or recommendations from sales associates. But when they visit retailers' websites, shoppers are left without their expert guidance and knowledge of products, style, fit and more. Fifty-three percent of shoppers want the option to shop online with a sales associate, with 58 percent saying it would be helpful to see his or her recommendations and insights online.
"Retail sales associates are the driving force behind the personalized service shoppers receive in store to encourage purchases and foster relationships, but they've been excluded from serving the online customer," said Oscar Sachs, CEO and Co-Founder of Salesfloor. "Our study shows that shoppers are aware of and frustrated by the impersonal online experience that leaves them sorting through hundreds of product pages with little help. This is the reason we see lower conversion rates online than in store, and can also lead to retailers losing sales to competitors."
Impact on sales
The study also found that not only does the presence of sales associates have an impact on customer relationships and the perception of retailers, but it also drives incremental sales for retailers:
- 87 percent of shoppers are more likely to buy an item recommended from a sales associate
- 77 percent of shoppers are more likely to make a purchase from a sales associate who has helped them before.
- 73 percent of shoppers say sales associates who remember their personal preferences/style impact how much they buy from a retailer
"Our study results uncover a direct correlation between sales associates and overall sales, which mimics what we are hearing from our retail customers," said Ben Rodier, Chief Client Officer and Co-Founder of Salesfloor. "They are looking for ways to make their sales associates available to customers beyond the physical constraints of retail stores. By helping their associates connect with customers online, retailers can build relationships at scale while providing a consistent shopping experience for any customer, on any platform."
Impact on marketing initiatives
According to the study, shoppers are also more willing to share personal information or receive communication from individual sales associates. Sixty-two percent of shoppers would rather receive personalized marketing emails from an individual associate, instead of the retailer's national marketing newsletter. What's more, 60 percent of shoppers are more likely to share their email address and personal information with retailers if they know the communication is used by an individual associate.
"The role of retail sales associates has remained relatively stagnant over the years, despite new technology and tools created to revive the retail industry overall," said Sachs. "Now is the time for retailers to help their store associates become 'omnichannel associates,' so they are empowered to sell online, market directly to local online shoppers and provide personalized online services. This is truly how retailers can leverage store associates to their full advantage."
For more information about the study, visit the website with complete findings.
Salesfloor surveyed 500 U.S. consumers on their online and in-store retail shopping habits. Respondents ranged from age 18-65 and were split evenly among males and females. The study asked questions across a variety of topics, including the impact of sales associates on the shopping experience. Findings were evaluated based on demographic qualifiers and response percentages were further evaluated on a quantitative scale.
Founded in 2013 by Oscar Sachs and Ben Rodier, Salesfloor (www.salesfloor.net) was created to address the significant void in service that shoppers experience when using a retailer's website to shop compared to when shopping in store. With Salesfloor, customers can shop online directly with the store or local sales associate, and benefit from the same high-quality experience online as they receive in store. Salesfloor currently operates from Palo Alto, New York, Montreal and London with a team of retail executives and technologists.