Tuesday, 12 February 2019 00:23

Retail store associates say tablets help provide better customer service

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Many retail associates believe that if they are equipped with tablets, they could provide better customer service and improve the shopping experience, according to a newly published survey from global IT services provider Zebra Technologies.

According to Zebra’s 11th annual Global Shopper Study, two-thirds (66%) of surveyed retail associates believe that tablets could improve the shopping experience, while 55% of surveyed retail store associates agree that their company is understaffed, and nearly one-half (49%) feel overworked.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the study found that:

  • sixty-two percent of retail associates view their employer more positively if provided with a mobile device for work-related activities; and
  • Nearly half (49%) of retail associates say that mobile point of sale (mPOS) devices help them do their job better.

The study found that store associates cite frustration with their inability to assist customers as 42% find they have little time to help shoppers because of pressure to get other tasks completed.

And another 28% claim that it’s difficult to get information to help shoppers – and most surveyed retail decision makers (83%) and store associates (74%) concur that shoppers can have a better experience with technology-equipped sales associates.

In addition, only 13% of surveyed shoppers completely trust retailers to protect their personal data — the lowest level of trust among 10 different industries — and 73% of surveyed shoppers prefer flexibility to control how their personal information is used.

“Our study reveals shopper expectations are on the rise,” said Jeff Schmitz, senior vice-president and chief marketing officer, Zebra Technologies.

“While retailers are addressing fulfillment challenges, they also need to provide a more trusted, personalised shopping experience that gives customers what they want, when, where, and how they want it.”

The study also identified diverging expectations on the impact of automation between retailers and store associates. Nearly 80% of retail decision makers — compared to 49% of store associates — agree that staff checkout areas are becoming less necessary due to new technologies that can automate checkout.

Also, more than one-half of retail decision makers (52% ) are converting point-of-sale (POS) space to self-checkout, and 62% are transforming it for online order pick-up.

The study also revealed that more than one-half of shoppers (51%) believe they are better connected with their smartphones than store associates.

According to the survey, retailers are investing in edge technologies to combat this gap, and nearly 60% of retailers plan to increase their spend on handheld mobile computers by more than 6%, and more than one-in-five retailers (21%) plan to spend greater than 10% on rugged tablets over the next three years.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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