The Age of Assistance: Consumers Expect More, Right Now

06.14.2018 Articles

It is always the job of the retailer to ask their consumer what they need. You hear the question on the sales floor every day, “Can I help you with anything?” It’s as much a part of the lexicon of traditional retail as “registers” and “sales racks” are. However, today’s consumers answer this question before they even set foot in a store. In less than a decade, technology has made way for an “age of assistance” where consumers have access to an incredible amount of information on products they wish to buy in a matter of seconds, from customer reviews and product specs, to where to purchase these items. While this is an incredible opportunity for consumers, it forces retailers to commit to a heightened list of consumer expectations.

Before they even step out the door, consumers are doing their fair share of research, and search marketing is quickly shaping those pre-purchase decisions. An action that was once saved for large purchases, such as a car or a home, is now applied to something as simple as toothpaste or a t-shirt. When a consumer walks into a store, chances are they’re already informed and they’ve already made up their mind on what to purchase. This is when retail stores can capitalize – sales associates play a crucial role in assisting consumers with their final in-store decision making or influencing them to consider a better option at the last minute. Among retail enthusiasts, knowledgeable staff is a highly important attribute of a great retail experience, ranking a 9 on a scale of 1-10.

With the speed at which consumers can find answers online, that expectation is now setting in at retail, where consumers want products in-hands as soon as possible. This is a chance for retailers to shine in their ability to deliver goods immediately. In a study performed by BDSmktg, one of the top reasons that consumers buy in store is to receive their purchases immediately. While digital retailers offer same day shipping, nothing is easier than picking a product up in store. Some retailers offer the option to order a product online and pick it up in the store, further pushing this growing world of omni-channel marketing. Retailers succeed when speed is crucial. In a test performed by CNBC, Target provided the fastest turn around time, allowing for consumers to come into stores and pick up their items in just 33 minutes. Target was successful in this example because of the hard work exhibited by sales associates who selected the item off the shelf, communicated with the consumer that the order was completed, and ultimately delivered a seamless digital-to-retail buying experience.

BDSmktg is here for retailers every step of the way, whether it’s guiding consumers in their digital journey towards a brick and mortar retail location, training in-store brand advocates who go above and beyond an average retail sales associate, or providing research insights of consumer buying behaviors. To learn more about changing consumer expectations at retail, check out our report on Great Consumer Expectations and contact us today to talk about how our solutions can work for you.