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Retailers Say a More Personalized Customer Experience is Still Missing

Retailers say consumers want a truly personalized experience, according to a new study from TimeTrade.

Of the more than 60 retailers surveyed, 60% said that a more personalized customer experience is the No. 1 thing missing today in the industry. The more retailers know about their customers before they walk in the door, the greater chance they have of providing a valuable, personalized, and satisfied buying experience, the report says.

“Showrooming and price matching are real challenges, but they’re causing retailers to lose focus of what really matters,” Gary Ambrosino, President of TimeTrade, said in a press release. “Whether a customer actually buys or just browses - in-store or elsewhere - hinges on a retailer’s ability to make that customer feel valued, give them undivided personal attention, and quickly connect them with the very best resource to help them find what they need, when, where, and how they need it.”

According to the report, industry experts predict online shopping growth will skyrocket, but in-store sales are still driving an overwhelming majority of revenue, and will continue to do so over the next 12 months. Mobile purchases, however while in-store or on the go, will double over the next year as the debate shifts from ecommerce vs. brick-and-mortar to how online, mobile, and physical channels work together to influence purchases.

Nearly 70% of retailers surveyed said the best way to combat showrooming is by improving the in-store experience or making it easier for customers to quickly find what they’re looking for. And while consumers are clearly still walking through store doors, retailers know expectations for service are both increasing and evolving. According to retailers surveyed, here are some other things they think consumers now want:

-- Smart service reps. The role of retail associate is evolving and impacting sales: 80% of retailers surveyed said sales increase between 25%-50% percent when customers are assisted by product experts. Retailers are reinventing job descriptions, being more selective about whom they hire and overhauling training programs to provide better in-store service.

-- Fast service. Consumers are running low on time and patience and have more purchasing options than ever before. More than two-thirds of retailers surveyed said customers expect service in five minutes or less or they will abandon the purchase and shop elsewhere.

“Watch the clock next time you’re standing in line waiting for service,” Ambrosino said. “How long are you willing to wait? Retailers that can crack the code on faster, more personal service are seeing the ultimate pay-off: much more revenue from satisfied, loyal customers.”

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