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Poor Service Cost Retailers $150 Billion Last Year. Could Mobile Tech Stem the Loss?
February 14, 2017

By John Stewart

Brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling to keep up with online stores, but they’d struggle far less if they could better deploy in-store technology, according to a report issued Tuesday.

A big issue for shoppers is lackluster customer service, which last year cost retailers $150 billion in lost sales, says the report, “State of Retail 2017,” sponsored by TimeTrade Systems Inc. a Tewksbury, Mass.-based company that provides mobile applications and other technology to help retailers improve customer engagement. The survey of more than 2,000 consumers was conducted by research firm Survey Sampling International LLC between Nov. 6 and Nov. 12.

On average, respondents said they would boost their in-store spending by 4.7% if stores rendered more personalized service. “Just imagine the positive financial impact on brick-and-mortar retailers if revenue jumped by 5%,” said Gary Ambrosino, chief executive of TimeTrade, in a statement. “Right now, retailers’ revenue projections and stock prices are under pressure as the landscape continues to change. A renewed focus on providing shoppers with a better, more personal in-store experience would go a long way toward stemming the tide of defection to competitors and online sellers.”

Merchants can use mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets to deliver improved service, the study says. Indeed, customer perception may matter as much as the actual deployment and use of mobile technology. Some 57% of the surveyed consumers said they felt more confident they had been given prompt and personalized service when they saw that clerks were working with each other on mobile devices to help customers.

So, customers are still planning on shopping in stores, but retailers need to keep up with mobile trends if they expect to keep their doors open,” concludes the 25-page report.

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