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Combat ‘Showrooming’ with better staff training and understanding, warns study

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Most consumers are turning to showrooming on their mobile phones in stores not just because it saves them money, but because staff are unhelpful and ill-informed, according to research carried out by retail training company Beyond The Box.

The majority of those surveyed felt that retail staff, were failing to ‘connect’ with them or their needs, and that staff failed to ‘explain products and services’ to them.

Today’s customers are information hungry, price savvy and demand exceptional service.

The research highlights that unless shoppers can engage with an empathetic and informed retail professional, the chances are they’ll take their business online.

Christine Knott, Managing Director at Beyond The Box says: “The modern sales journey often 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 that journey, they require training to enable them to be better informed, better guided and sufficiently empowered, so they can meet their customer’s ever evolving expectations.”

The research found that retail staff in the technology sector were trusted the least, but in contrast, 78% of respondents thought that retail staff working in DIY and Garden Centres were the best at understanding the products and explaining the benefits.

Knott concludes: “It’s not all bad news. There are clear opportunities for retailers to empower their staff and improve their customer’s experience. Training staff about the products they are selling means they will have the confidence to discuss them with the customer and answer any questions they have. That alone will inspire confidence in the customer and assure them they have made the right decision to visit the store.

Improving the team’s communication skills can also add to the overall customer experience. Quite simply, the need for a ‘human to human’ conversation is the reason many avoid online shopping, but if the visit doesn’t meet their expectations, is there a point in them traveling to the store? Not only is training the way forward, service is also key in helping in-store retail play its full part in the new multichannel environment.”

Click here for the full research report

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