Survey: Retail stores have ‘expertise gap’
SALT LAKE CITY — Experticity has announced the findings of its first ever “Retail Buying Experience” survey, which uncovers a striking expertise gap among sales associates in five retail areas: health and nutrition, prestige beauty, outdoor, sporting goods and hunting or fishing.
"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," stated Tom Stockham, CEO of Experticity. "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."
The 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 was sponsored by Experticity and conducted by ReRez Research in Dallas in September 2013. The consumers were surveyed in five areas: outdoor, sporting goods, hunting or fishing, health and nutrition and prestige beauty.
Consumers expect expertise from retailers in key areas
When asked to rate the services consumers most desire and value from retail sales associates, the top four were:
- Product knowledge (73%);
- Help selecting the correct product (71%);
- Category knowledge (69%); and
- Help finding alternatives when the first choice is not available (68%).
The survey found that 2-out-of-5 consumers are routinely disappointed by the lack of expertise of the sales associates they encounter in retail stores. The biggest shortcoming is in finding suitable alternatives, cited by 43% of consumers. Category knowledge, product knowledge and help selecting products were skills also cited as lacking.
Consumers fall back to other sources for expertise
Given the value consumers place on expertise, it is not surprising that when they cannot find it at retail stores, they find it elsewhere. Consumers tell us the resource they find most useful in terms of obtaining expertise is talking to someone they perceive to be an expert (72% find this somewhat to extremely useful). This is followed by online searching (71%), online user reviews (66%) and traditional product reviews and articles (65%).
So what are the lessons for retailers? Making sure your sales associates have the proper expertise is good business. Experticity has the following recommendations:
- Invest in the right people;
- Train the people who love your stuff: So often retail employees get trained in things like how to improve service. That has a place, but if they don’t know the products inside and out, they won’t be able to provide the proper guidance;
- Reward expertise: If your employees are in love with the stuff you sell and know everything about, then they probably want to be rewarded with your stuff — discounts merchandise, tickets to related events, etc.; and
- Evangelize the value of helpful expertise: Leading people to the lowest price on your shelf doesn’t build relationships. Ask customers what they want, why they want it.
Experticity is a community of influential experts who work to drive retail sales and create premier buying experiences through the knowledge platform, 3point5.com and the incentive platform, ProMotive.com.
Shoppers Drug Mart, Morneau Shepell team up to faciliate flu vaccines to employees
TORONTO — Shoppers Drug Mart and Morneau Shepell, a provider of employee assistance programs and pension and benefit services, are working together to provide Morneau Shepell’s clients with a more convenient way to offer flu vaccines to their employees.
Through the partnership, employees can get their flu shot at a Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacy by walking in at a time that works best for them. Employees also can use a new online scheduling tool to book an appointment to get vaccinated. Employees will simply need to log on to their internal employee website, and click on a link to the Shoppers Drug Mart flu scheduler where they can select a time to get a flu shot for themselves and their family members.
"Pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals. and with Shoppers Drug Mart conveniently located across the country, they are so easily accessible," stated Marilynne Madigan, managing partner of Health and Benefits in Ontario at Morneau Shepell. "We are excited to work with Shoppers Drug Mart to provide our clients’ employees and loved ones with convenient access to flu vaccines."
According to Health Canada, each year anywhere from 3.4 million to 8.6 million Canadians come down with the flu, and it can result in severe consequences for many. Not only does influenza have a serious impact on the health of Canadians, but it also disrupts the workplace, as thousands of employees across the country are forced to stay home because they are sick or they have to take care of a loved one.
"It’s great to see Morneau Shepell and their clients making flu vaccinations a priority, as it is one of the most reliable ways to protect against the flu," stated Dorian Lo, EVP pharmacy and health care at Shoppers Drug Mart. "And, an added benefit of getting vaccinated by a pharmacist is that people can get useful advice about other preventive measures at the same time."
Approximately 1.5 million work days are lost in Canada each year due to the flu, and the resulting health care and lost productivity costs $1 billion. A study out of the University of Pittsburgh found vaccinating employees early in the flu season can save companies between $63 and $95 per employee, and vaccinating an entire firm of 150 employees early could save a business between $9,450 and $14,250. Fall is the best time to get the vaccine, as it takes two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the influenza virus infection and that protection will last roughly six months.
Pharmacists are currently able to administer flu vaccinations for those older than 5 years old in the following provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. In those provinces where this is not the case, Shoppers Drug Mart is working with other healthcare professionals to arrange for flu clinics to be made available to Morneau Shepell clients and their employees.
Target to finish 2013 Canadian store openings
MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — Target is on track to open all the stores it intends to in Canada, the mass merchandise retailer said Monday.
Target aid it would open its remaining 33 stores scheduled for 2013 in November, including the first stores in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland provinces. Thirty-one stores will open on Nov. 13, and the remaining two will open on Nov. 22. The retailer had 124 Canadian store openings planned for the year and said it would announce additional store openings at a later date.
"The final store openings for this year mark a major milestone in Target’s history," Target Canada president Tony Fisher said. "The goal for our Canadian expansion was to open 124 stores across all 10 provinces in 2013, and we are proud to say that with the help of more than 20,000 Canadian team members nationwide, we have accomplished this unprecedented undertaking."