Magazines Archives - 2008 March
What do customers want from the shop floor?
IT is an old story that continues to plague retailers whose sales staff forms the single biggest driver of lost sales, reported a study by The Verde Group, a Canadian research company, based in Toronto.
The research was conducted both in the US and Canada with the same results.
Of the top 10 problems identified, nine were linked to sales associates, with shoppers taking issue most with: The its not my department attitude; being made to feel they are intruding in floor staffs private conversation; being shadowed and unable to browse freely; staff showing lack of interest to help find an item; impoliteness; staff not listening to a request; insensitivity to long checkout lines; staff not making eye contact or smiling; and the absence of sales assistants. Out-of-stock merchandise was the only non-staff-related issue in the top 10.
Verde president Paula Courtney suggested that many of these issues could be resolved with better training. Noting that dissatisfied customers would tell their friends over and over about what they considered to be bad experiences, Courtney cited survey data revealing that the shopper unable to find an item would tell it to 2.5 people while another who has to wait to be served and the one who has to wait at the checkout line would each tell 1.4 people.
The research, which also studied shopper attitudes by age and gender, found older female shoppers more likely than older men to have issues with salespersons, while men were observed to be most annoyed by out-of-stock situations.
In the study, younger shoppers, brought up on instant response from the Internet, tended to encounter problems with sales associates. Their impatience stems from the belief that they have more options shopping via the Internet, text-messaging and e-mail, Courtney explained, adding that the younger they are, the more demanding they get.
Retailers, she concluded, need to pay more attention to customer experience in their stores. Collecting information about behaviour that dissatisfies shoppers is as important as understanding what merchandise they might want.