Christine Nott
Beyond The Box

Member Article

Retail matters: combating the ‘showrooming’ effect

Christine Knott, managing director of Beyond The Box talks about the results of their new study, which highlights a major skills shortage in retail. The research takes an in-depth look at what bricks and mortar retailers need to do in order that they can compete in the ever changing, multi-channel environment they now find themselves in.

At the heart of our study lies a retailer/customer communication breakdown, which has turned many of the less progressive bricks and mortar stores into little more than demo areas, or showrooms, victims of the ‘showrooming’ effect.

In an increasingly multichannel world, we look at what in store retail can do to reclaim its place at the heart of the customer sales journey? Isn’t it time for retail to dust itself down, step up to the plate and turn the multichannel challenge into fresh opportunities? Of course it is. The big question as ever, is how?

Well here’s one answer – communication.

Our consumer research revealed that 75% of online shoppers feel retail staff fail to communicate well, with staff failing to provide the kind of detailed and informed product knowledge that people now expect.

And, with 50% of click and collect customers also believing that retail staff ‘fail to explain products and services well,’ it seems as though many, having collected their purchases, are leaving stores frustrated with their experience.

Today, customers are Information hungry, price savvy and demand exceptional service. Unless they can engage with an empathetic, informed retail professional, chances are they’ll take their business online.

This breed of new, super informed customers, expect retail staff to come prepared with at least their own level of product knowledge – to add value. Equally important, is the ability for staff to communicate that knowledge clearly. Clarity trumps persuasion every time.

The modern sales journey now involves a range of touch points, with buying decisions based on a mixture of online, in-store and mobile engagements. For in-store retailers to add genuine value to this journey, is a question of training. Staff need to be better informed, better guided and sufficiently empowered, so that they can meet customers’ ever evolving expectations.

To back this point up, our research showed us, In contrast to technology staff, whose knowledge is trusted the least, that 78% of customers we spoke to, said that they think retail staff in DIY and Garden Centres are the best at understanding the products and explaining the benefits. A finding that underlines the positive contribution of retail staff sufficiently equipped, to deliver the depth of knowledge and service shoppers demand.

So, to conclude, there are clear opportunities here for retailers prepared to empower their staff with targeted, knowledge based training and clear brand values. Not only is it the way forward, service is key to helping in-store retail play its full part in the new multichannel environment.

You can read our full report, Retail Matters, here.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Beyond The Box .

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