Retail workers lacking tech tools

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As seen on Retail Leader.

Retail workers are not equipped with the mobile devices they need in order to offer shoppers the frictionless shopping experience they expect, according to a new survey.

A new retail store associate survey by Tulip, a mobile application provider focused on empowering workers in retail stores, shows that 61% of store associates are not armed with mobile devices and only 17% are interacting with customers and expanding the relationship beyond the four walls of the store.

“The massive competition from ecommerce titans like Amazon and the ever-growing shift to online shopping have accelerated the urgency for retailers to give shoppers a compelling reason to enter their store,” said Bill Zujewski, EVP of Marketing for Tulip. “The findings of our survey emphasized the reality that mobile-empowered associates with the right customer and product information and the right mobile tools are elevating the shopper experience and building relationships to drive greater sales. Retailers need to double-down on their best asset, their workers in their stores, and provide the tools necessary for store associates to improve service, sell more and be more productive and valuable. The survey shows that retailers that have implemented mobile apps for store associates to lookup products, manage customer information, check out shoppers, and communicate with clients are seeing improved results.  And while this survey shows the benefits of keeping a dialogue going with customers, only 17% are interacting with shoppers after they leave the store. This is a missed opportunity to update them on the status of their orders, provide information on new product arrivals, or to follow-up and check-in on customer satisfaction.”

Additional key findings from the survey include:

  • Nearly half of store associates say that the consumer is sometimes more knowledgeable about the products than they are; this confirms what consumers have said in a recent Tulip survey, where 83% of consumers believed they are more knowledgeable than store associates
  • The majority of store associate respondents (44%) say they spend too much of their time folding clothes and stocking shelves – tasks that take away from time spent engaging with customers
  • When asked which option they would find most beneficial in an assisted mobile tool, 40% chose looking up inventory in-store, at other locations and online, 22% said access to detailed product information, and 14% picked ability to make price and product comparisons
  • Nearly a third of associates said they don’t have the ability to look up store inventory in real time
  • 40% can only look up inventory that’s currently in stock in the physical retail location, highlighting the missed opportunity to order online in the store to save sales on out-of-stock items
  • 65% of store associates never text or email customers after they leave the store – another missed opportunity to improve service and help expand customer relationships
  • A majority of store associates’ job performance (68%) is evaluated based on overall store sales and also sales they personally drove, areas that mobile devices have been proven to help

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