Are Smartphones Killing Off Sales Associates?
We here at Styleite love to shop (evidenced by, well, our tireless gift guides), but when we’re in serious yes-I-am-going-to-make-a-purchase mode, we either can’t flag down a salesperson to help us or we want to find our new merch by ourselves. A new survey by retail consulting firm Accenture suggests that most shoppers who have smartphones don’t want to talk to salespeople at all, instead preferring to use their iPhones or BlackBerries to find information a salesperson could easily recite. Internet Retailer reports that this is simply a side effect of the prevalence of apps designed to make it easier to do everything from keeping up with your favorite designers to figuring out where you can get the most bang for your buck.
“Smartphones will permanently change the relationship between the store and the shopper,” says Janet Hoffman, managing director of Accenture’s retail practice. “Today’s tech-savvy consumer wants a seamless shopping experience across store, mobile or online at a time that suits them. Ultimately, this trend will lead to a new definition of the store; purpose, place and size are all up for debate. Already we are seeing some shoppers treating stores more like a showroom to test products and then making their purchase online.”
And while that’s good news for brands that have mobile apps, it kinda sucks for salespeople, who often get some form of commission for dutifully handing you the sizes you need or talking you off a ledge when you realize you don’t fit into a medium anymore. Actually that last one just might be a problem that we have.
But we digress — we’re interested to hear what you have to say on this one. Is this just another sign of the times? Are we phasing out the friendly faces that greet us when we come into stores in favor of apps that’ll tell us exactly how much something is going to cost when we apply our store loyalty points? Is it easier to find what you need in a store without a hovering sales guy? What do you think?