Just How Important is Human Touch in the Shopping Journey

A new survey released by Mindtree challenges the idea that most shoppers do not like to be disturbed by sales associates, and highlights the power of human touch to boost sales (view the full infographic here).

With the growing importance of eCommerce, it’s easy to lose sight of the one thing every sale has in common: people. And people really do like to buy from other people. Not long ago, brick and mortar retailers were casting glances over their shoulders, worried about what the rise of online shopping would mean for their sales. It turns out some of those fears were unfounded as the majority of shoppers still prefer to do their shopping in the store.

Read on to learn more about how the human touch helps to turn shoppers into customers.

The Human Touch Matters to Shoppers

Personal interaction is one of the most effective ways to encourage a shopper to become a customer. One needs to look no further than the results of Mindtree’s 2016 shopper survey for confirmation. The study found that:

  • 70% of shoppers want to interact with sales associates;
  • 34% of customers sourced information from sales associates, and 28% asked associates about offers and discounts;
  • Sales associates are a close second to websites and online reviews as sources of customer information;
  • 40% of shoppers decide to make a purchase following a positive interaction with a sales associate, versus 28% who make a purchase without any interaction.

When it comes to making a purchase decision in the store, the value of personal interaction with a member of your team is undeniable. However, the same study observed that 40% of shoppers say they are “never able to find a sales associate” when they want assistance. Clearly, there is some room for improvement when it comes to meeting shoppers’ expectations!

What Does this Mean to Retailers?

In-store sales and human touch boost the bottom line for a few reasons:

  1. Cross-sell and upselling: A sophisticated algorithm can make recommendations based on what’s in an online shopper’s cart, but it can’t make judgments based on what the customer is wearing, or register their look of delight or disgust at suggested items. An in-person connection with a sales associate lends itself to unparalleled upsell and cross-selling opportunities.
  2. Increased sales, decreased returns: Customers who have had the chance to touch and try on merchandise are more confident in their choices. As an example, let’s look at apparel shoppers. When they’ve interacted with a sales associate in the fitting room, shoppers are three times as likely to buy products from that store, and their return rates are dramatically lower.
  3. Associates can do their job even better when supported by technology: When sales associates are empowered to do their job with helpful technology, the benefits of in-person interaction can be significantly enhanced. For example, fitting room call buttons allow sales associates help customers in the fitting room on the customers’ schedule – without disruptive and ineffective door-knocking.

As it turns out, there really is no substitute for the hands-on nature of personal service. This is an area where traditional retail stores continue to maintain an edge over eCommerce.

The Human Touch Contributes to Retail Success

The majority of shoppers want to interact with associates, and shoppers who have this interaction are far more likely to make a purchase. Smart retailers will do all they can to ensure that when a shopper visits their store, that individual experiences a positive human connection.

Why is the Fitting Room so Important in Retail Analytics?

Relatively speaking, the fitting room is one of the smallest areas of any retail store. These unobtrusive rooms are often tucked away in the back, and as a retailer, you could easily forget all about them. That is, until you understand the importance of this small-but-mighty area of the store.

For example, did you know that fitting rooms are key to increased sales and decreased returns? Let’s look at why the fitting room is crucial to retail performance.

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The Dirty Truth About Magic Mirrors

Brick and mortar retail stores are looking for ways to incorporate technology in ways that improve customer experience and create measurable ROI. Especially appealing are technologies that lend themselves to a more omnichannel experience. Web makes retail easier! Metrics, analytics, insights galore.

  • What is the best way to do this?
  • Where does it make sense to connect the online to the in-store experience?
  • How can you readily incorporate the Internet of Things into your physical stores?

Theoretically, the “Magic Mirror” should be one answer to these questions.

There are a few different versions of these magic-machines, but they all rely on a complex recommendation engine that draw from catalog and in-store inventory, as well as allow in-store shoppers to save items to their in-store shopping cart.

Despite the bells and whistles, Magic Mirrors remain far from ubiquitous – or even common. Why hasn’t this “sexy” technology been more widely adopted?

And no- it’s not just because of the finger prints…

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Why Customers Get Educated Online but Buy In-Store

Finally! Kristin sealed up the last envelope with invitations to her sister Sarah’s bridal shower. This was going to be a huge event!

Her sister was marrying the man of her dreams. Kristin loved the pair as a couple and couldn’t wait to see them walk down the aisle… this wedding was going to be one for the record books. Or, her record books anyway.

Sarah was marrying a man from India. The pair decided to hold a traditional Indian wedding with intermittent glimpses of the American culture where Sarah was raised. The entire affair would last four days.

Kristin was in charge of the bridal shower. That she could handle.

As she finished addressing the last envelope, she was excited for the next task on her to-do list – shopping!

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Is the Death of Brick and Mortar Retail on the Horizon? No, and Here’s Why

It’s a scary thought for many retailers. Brick and mortar retail could end, as we know it, as more people turn to the Internet to shop online. Not so, according to The State of Retail 2015 report by TimeTrade.

TimeTrade compiled a report on the state of consumer behavior, gathering details about how shoppers shop and buyers buy.

The company looked at the psychology behind in-store shopping compared to online shopping. They examined modern consumer preferences and compared these to how well brick and mortar stores will fair going forward.

The results were encouraging for brick and mortar retailers. Here are some of the highlights.

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The Future of Retail? Predictions for 2016 & Beyond

With more retailers than ever reporting dour statistics linked to the rapidly shifting digital landscape, how can businesses expect to stay afloat? Knowing the upcoming trends and using them to your advantage can put you ahead of the game.

So what are some of our predictions for 2016 and beyond? And how can retailers best adjust their operations?

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NRF 2016: What You Must See if You Sell Apparel

The countdown is on for NRF 2016! This is one of the most anticipated shows in the retail industry. Are you as excited as we are?

With exhibitions, sponsorships, meet-ups and more, it’s impossible to take in everything NRF 2016 has to offer. When you first walk through the doors of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, you’ll find a LOT competing for your attention – from exhibits to speakers to networking events. It can overwhelm even the most seasoned conference goer – unless you make a strategic plan.

We’ve been to this show before. Over the years, we have learned what’s a must-see for anyone in retail. And specifically, for apparel retailers. If you want to have an incredible experience here’s what we recommend.

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NRF 2016: Why it’s a Big Deal and Why You Need to be There

It’s that special time of year again for retail. This year, the NRF Big Show will take place January 17-20th at the Jacob K. Javita Convention Center in bustling New York City. You may be asking yourself:

  • I have quality products, and I’m well networked, so why should I show up?
  • What will this conference do for my business that I can’t do for myself?

Or, maybe, your retail business is struggling, and you don’t know why. There are no definite answers on why some retail businesses succeed and why others fail, but you’ll definitely get some great ideas from NRF’s Big Show.

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Using the Internet of Things to Your Advantage

If you have been paying attention to tech news in recent years, you have no doubt heard of the Internet of Things. If you haven’t been paying attention, fear not. Many of those who have waded through countless articles are still hard-pressed to come up with a clear explanation for the Internet of Things.

Luckily for both camps, we’re here to shed some light on the Internet of Things, and more importantly, how you can use it to your advantage.

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Was this Black Friday Naughty or Nice for Retailers?

Like reading tea leaves or gazing into a crystal ball, predicting the future of holiday shopping trends is not an exact science. After all, retail shoppers are people who are known to be a pretty fickle bunch.

In “How to Prepare for the 2015 Holiday Shopping Season” we turned an eye to the future with some predictions about this year’s holiday shopping trends.

Preliminary results for Black Friday shopping are in; now let’s see if our predictions were accurate.

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