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Knowledge tops consumers’ expectations when it comes to store associates adding value to in-store shopping experiences, the latest research from Retail Technology Show, the new flagship event for retail, reveals.

Original research of over 2,000 UK shoppers in its latest Retail Revolution report showed that 40% felt store associates were the key factor that could ‘make or break’ customer experience when shopping in-store, with knowledge the defining factor in crafting positive shopping experiences.  A further 42% said they wanted retail staff to be knowledgeable, while over a quarter (26%) said they would be more likely to use physical stores in the future if knowledgeable and experienced store staff were on hand to support their path to purchase.

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Leveraging customer experience by enhancing employee experience was a key trend featured in former Dreams’ CEO Mike Logue’s headline session at Retail Technology Show in which he attributed staff engagement at all levels of the business – from HR to those on the shop floor –  with the turnaround of Dreams’ fortunes.  He highlighted the importance of retail staff understanding and embracing the business’ strategy, as well as delivering CX in-store and providing a valuable feedback loop for the retailer to continuously evolve its offer.

Now, over half (56%) of customers expect store staff to be as genned up as them across channels.  Over a quarter (27%) of consumers want store associates to have the same level of digital information as them when they arrive in the store, with a further third (29%) expecting retail staff’s product knowledge to span across retailers’ sales channels, being able to share product information and advice not just about those products available in-store but also as part of a retailer’s online offer. 

Over a third (34%) of shoppers valued retail staff more than they did before the pandemic, having become more respectful of the role store associates play in their buying journeys.  And having the human touch in shopping experiences also remained key for consumers; despite retailers, including Asda, trialling robots in-store, just 15% of shoppers wanted in-store interactions to be automated, with robots welcoming them into the shop or helping them find items.

However, 41% of shoppers felt retailers could do more to support their frontline staff, with a fifth (19%) saying retail workers could be better connected to improve the delivery of customer service in-store.

Matt Bradley, Event Director at Retail Technology Show, commented: “It’s no secret that good employee experiences create positive customer experiences – and those connections between the shopper and the store staff, who embody and represent the ‘face of the brand’, are crucial in not only driving conversions, but delivering the buying experiences that engender long-term customer loyalty.  However, retailers need to ensure store staff remain supported – through processes and connected technology – to continue to elevate that ‘human touch’ in-store that shoppers value so highly.”

To find out more about the trends impacting retail in 2022 and beyond – as well as discovering what’s in-store for Retail Technology Show 2023, taking place on 25 & 26 April 2023 at London Olympia – download the full report for free: Retail Revolution: A blueprint for transformational retailing insights report – Retail Technology Show.

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