Study finds Staff in Physical Stores Remain Essential – that’s great news for us!!

CS_2We all know that online is growing much faster than sales at traditional bricks and mortar stores. However a recent survey uncovered some very interesting research about the importance of having knowledgeable and customer service focussed staff in stores.

More than half of shoppers entering a store seek help from a sales associate, according to a new study by Marshall Fisher, professor of operations and information management at The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, and consulting firm Experticity. Retailer stores with knowledgeable sales staff able to help customers made 69% more money than those that didn’t, the study found. Such associates bring more shoppers to the checkout and cash in higher sales each time.

Fisher followed 63,500 sales people at more than 330 stores over two years.

While consumers are increasingly doing research on the web ahead of going to the store, and as e-commerce continues to increase, this study shows that knowledgeable sales associates nevertheless remain an all-important factor in the success of brick-and-mortar retail.

Robots Serving Customers – What the ??????

robotHaving just talked about the need to have knowledgeable staff in stores, the Japanese are about to take this to a whole new level……..

Food giant, Nestle, is planning to hire 1000 humanoid robots as sales clerks to help sell its coffee makers at electronics stores across Japan. The first batch of the chatty humanoid called Pepper will report to work by the end of the year at outlets that sell coffee capsules and home espresso machines.

“From December, they will start selling coffee machines for us at big retail stores,” Nestle Japan spokeswoman, Miki Kano, said on Wednesday. “We are sure that our customers will enjoy shopping and being entertained by robots.”

Pepper, which has already been at work, chatting with customers at wireless giant SoftBank’s outlets, has proved an effective marketing tool for the Japanese mobile carrier, delighting managers who put it to work collecting customer opinions.

The 120 centimetre tall robot, which moves on rollers and has what looks like a tablet computer strapped to its chest, was unveiled in June by SoftBank president, Masayoshi Son. He billed it as an emotional robot that understands 70 to 80 per cent of spontaneous conversations.

Pepper is set to go on the market from February for about $US2000 ($A2165) apiece. Let’s hope they take a while to get to us in Australia!

Roger SimpsonRoger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Retail Solution” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service and selling skills.