Results from a study of 600 U.S. consumers shows that consumers value sales associate expertise above all else, but finds that consumers often find such expertise lacking.

“The Retail Buying Experience survey shows that consumers still fundamentally want helpful expertise from retail sales associates to guide buying decisions while many of today’s retailers have opted for low-cost employees, forcing buyers to turn elsewhere for information,” said Tom Stockham, CEO of Experticity, which sponsored the survey. ReRez Research in Dallas conducted the survey in September 2013 among 600 consumers who were surveyed in five affinity areas: outdoor, sporting goods, hunting or fishing, health and nutrition and prestige beauty. “This research clearly shows that consumers are not happy having to do all the research themselves and crave retail to play a hands-on role with their buying decisions.”

Some key findings from the survey include:

Sales associates fall short of consumer expectations: Many of the consumers found retail sales associates less than useful when it comes to getting educated on products, with 43% finding alternatives to salespeople for product information.

Consumers struggle with alternative sources for expertise: Without smart, knowledgeable sales associates, consumers are left to fend for themselves with a variety of sources, with 72% looking to someone they know as an expert for product advice, 71% turning to the Internet and 66% looking to online reviews.

Experticity also provided interesting industry research on the impact of helpful expertise including:

• 30% more engagement leads to 50% more conversion

Top three drivers of customer loyalty are:
      1. Customer service (57 percent)
      2. Product availability (52 percent)
      3. Store experience (45 percent)

For more data on the retail Buying Experience Survey please

click here.