Store associates are using tablets as part of the digital convergence.

In Zebra Technologies Corp.’s latest survey, 66 percent of sales associates said if they were equipped with tablets on the selling floor, customer service, as well as the entire shopping experiences for guests, would improve. Researchers at the technology solutions firm also found that of the consumers polled, a large majority feel that retailers are not to be trusted with protecting their personal data.

The annual survey, the “Global Shopper Study, found that just 15 percent of shoppers completely trust retailers with their data. This is the second major report over the past two weeks that showed a lack of trust for retailers from consumers over personal data.

Of the retail store associates polled, 55 percent said their companies were “understaffed.” And about half said they felt overworked. “Store associates cite frustration with their inability to assist customers, as 42 percent find they have little time to help shoppers because of pressure to get other tasks completed,” authors of the report said. “Another 28 percent claim that it’s difficult to get information to help shoppers. Most surveyed retail decision-makers (83 percent) and store associates (74 percent) concur that shoppers can have a better experience with technology-equipped sales associates.”

Zebra Technologies’ survey from last year found a similar sentiment in regard to ill-equipped store associates. Major retailers and brands such as Macy’s, Target and Walmart have said on conference calls with analysts that improving the in-store shopping experience was a priority.

Regarding data breaches, fraud and other security issues, 73 percent of surveyed shoppers said they “prefer flexibility to control how their personal information is used.”

Jeff Schmitz, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Zebra Technologies, said the firm’s study reveals that consumer “expectations are on the rise. While retailers are addressing fulfillment challenges, they also need to provide a more trusted, personalized shopping experience that gives customers what they want, when, where and how they want it.”

Other findings in the study include “diverging expectations” in regard to the impact of automated checkout. “Nearly 80 percent of retail decision-makers — compared to 49 percent of store associates — agree that staff checkout areas are becoming less necessary due to new technologies that can automate checkout.”

The polls also found that 52 percent of retail decision-makers are converting point-of-sale space to self-checkout while 62 percent “are transforming it for online order pickup.”

Additionally, the survey revealed that consumers, more than half, feel that they are “better connected” via personal smartphones than retail sales associates. “Retailers are investing in edge technologies to combat this gap,” authors of the report said. “Nearly 60 percent of retailers plan to increase their spend on handheld mobile computers by more than 6 percent, and more than one-in-five retailers [21 percent] plan to spend greater than 10 percent on rugged tablets over the next three years.”

The research was based on the sentiment of more than 4,700 consumers, 1,200 retail store associates and 430 retail decision-makers from North America, Latin America, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and the Middle East.

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