Retail Managers: You’ll Get More Product Info From A Smartphone Than A Sales Associate

Times used to be, you had a question about a product and needed information about it, and you asked the sales associate at the store. But now it’s not just consumers who stay home to online shop who are finding the best information and prices about items they’re shopping for, even retail managers say customers in a store are better off turning to their smartphones to get info, rather than asking a sales associate for help.

Which begs the question — what are sales associates doing there if even their managers think they’re not as useful as a piece of technology?

There are still shoppers who find personal interactions useful, but technology helps everybody out and seems to improve the whole experience, say both shoppers and employees.

In a survey by Motorola Solutions Inc. (via the Chicago Tribune), two-thirds of retail managers said  holiday shoppers are more connected to product information than retail workers, using those little phone computers and other mobile devices.

It isn’t juts the managers who understand the shift that’s taking place, as the majority of Generation Y and X shoppers say they use mobile devices for shopping, and can find information faster than by asking a sales associate to help them out.

But baby boomers still seem to rely on actual people for help, with only 37% using technology to shop and most of those saying they’re more likely to spend money in a store if a person helps them out.

Employees want to get on the technology train so they can help customers and not totally lose the customer service battle to robots. Almost 60% of retail workers surveyed said their jobs could be done better if they were able to use tablets in the process of helping customers.

Smartphones make shoppers savvier than clerks [Chicago Tribune]