January 21, 2005
To Win Customers, Offer Online Options and More Staff In Store
The top 100 specialty retailers surveyed for their 2005 plans said one of their top priorities was making it easier for customers to seamlessly shop online and in the store, according to Display & Design Ideas. LakeWest Group, an independent retail management consulting firm, said its 6th Annual Point-of-Sale Benchmarking Survey showed retailers are placing heightened emphasis on multichannel integration.
More than one-third of the multichannel retailers offer kiosks as tools for online shopping, product information or employee support. To enhance the multichannel shopping experience, more than 70% of the retailers surveyed offer the use of stored value cards across channels in addition to offering crosschannel returns.
In a survey released by the National Retail Federation, retailers say they are becoming more committed to customer service, though customers aren't noticing it yet. Customers haven't noticed it because retailers are focusing on the wrong aspects, the survey found.
In terms of store staffing, for example, the number of sales associates is more important to consumers than their level of education or how well they know their customers. Yet merchants believe the opposite to be true. Though about half of consumers do still care about having sales associates who know them and are familiar with products, getting waited on quickly is far more important.
by Peggy Jo Donahue