Retail Business: Customers favor Salespeople with technology

Traditionally online shopping has been just that: online. Now however, as devices become more portable, shoppers are taking their technology into stores, turning to smart phones rather than salespeople for help. And retailers are responding.  Across the country, department stores such as Nordstrom and Macy’s are all introducing technology into their stores to heighten customers’ in-store shopping experience.

The key is a new generation of shoppers, consumers raised on the rise of Google in a world where the latest Apple product is incorporated into daily life as easily as a new pair of shoes.  Technology has become a constant sidekick, and the retail world is no exception. Online apps meant to be a resource outside of the store are now used as an additional shopping tool. Instead of going to the closest salesperson for help, customers check the store’s online app to see if a product is available. They can even compare prices with competitors, scanning retailers in the local mall for the best deal in a matter of minutes.

Rather than getting defensive, stores have embraced the technology as a new addition to their repertoire. Ipads are provided to help consumers navigate merchandise. Nordstrom has mobile devices in several departments so customers can purchase without ever approaching the register. Makeup counters now have touch-screen videos to demonstrate smoky-eye techniques.  NBA star Lebron James’ shoe store in Miami has 50 ipads to describe its merchandise.

For retailers such who have built their company around customer service, this is a huge change. It goes against common wisdom- is technology really better than human interaction with a live salesperson? How will this affect companies in the future? Will it affect jobs in the retail industry?

Erik Nordstrom, president of stores for Nordstrom, sees it as an integration with both worlds; “How the customer is defining service and wants service to be delivered is changing pretty rapidly, and a lot of that is driven by technology,” said Erik Nordstrom, president of stores for Nordstrom. “A lot of customers like to touch and feel and try on the merchandise, but they also want that information that they get online” (New York Times).

A retail business, depending on its size, can host thousands of customers on its premises on a daily basis, facing an overwhelming amount of exposure risks. At any given time, consumers expect a safe and enjoyable experience while strolling around a store. At Newman Crane, we have insurance plans to protect your retail operation from a number of potential losses, including liability and property damage. We have the resources and expertise to protect your business throughout the Orlando and Central Florida area. Call our office today at 877.874.4673. We look forward to hearing from you.