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Shoppers still value traditional in-store customer service – but technology needs to help, new report reveals

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Traditional customer service and human interaction prove key motivations for consumers choosing to shop in-store – but mobile technology is needed to support it, a new report by PCMS, a global provider of unified commerce solutions, reveals.

Original research in the In Full Flight Embrace The Pace: Are You Running With Customers Or Letting Them Race Away From YouReport, which polled 2,000 UK consumers, revealed that while immediacy was one of the main motivations for using the store to make purchases for 58% of UK shoppers, the role of the store associate proved a key consideration when choosing to shop in-store.

84% of shoppers agreed that quick and helpful customer service was the most likely factor in making them shop with a retailer again, followed by quick check out and payment options (44%). A further 44% would be more likely to choose a retailer that offers a quick and convenient customer service over retailers they had been loyal to in the past, but couldn’t offer the same levels of service.

And it seems, increasingly, shoppers want retailers to use mobile technology to empower store associates, with 51% agreeing that having staff armed with tablets in the store would improve the customer experience – whether it’s to look up products, demonstrate the item or make recommendations based on previous purchases.

A further 30% found it was easier to browse in the store and a quarter (26%) attributed this to the human interaction they receive in-store and the impact this had on customer service levels.

Steve Powell, Director of Sales at PCMS, comments: “The store associate is central to delivering the speed and convenience consumers now crave in the store, having become increasingly used to fast and flexible shopping journeys online. Whilst there is demand for digitalised experiences in bricks-and-mortar encounters, which technology can support and deliver, it’s clear that ‘the art of selling’ still needs to involve a human level of personalisation to create positive in-store encounters and to drive increased conversions.”

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