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Digital devices upping the ante for store service standards

7th Feb 2011
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High street shoppers are increasingly using digital devices to see whether they are getting the best deal and to provide store feedback, according to a study.

The survey undertaken by digital market research agency eDigitalResearch and e-tail industry body Interactive Media in Retail Group revealed that a quarter of smartphone users had used a bar code scanner on their device to scan items within a store in order to see whether they could get them cheaper elsewhere.

The move illustrated that high street retailers now needed to ensure that they provided excellent customer service, good stock availability and a minimum of queues to ensure that they differentiated themselves, the report entitled the ‘eCustomerService Index’ said.

Two out of five respondents also indicated that they had provided feedback after seeing a survey URL either in-store or on a receipt. But while 88% used their PCs to do, only 7% chose to provide an immediate response using their smartphone.

Derek Eccleston, research director at eDigitalResearch, said: "We are seeing the dawn of mobile ecommerce, with digital now truly coming to the high street. Consumers are using technology to provide feedback and check prices with suppliers, whilst the staff within stores are utilising digital technology to offer the consumer excellent customer service by checking stock levels."

Some 39% of respondents said that shop workers had used either smartphones, tablet PCs, kiosks or regular PCs to check stock levels for them.

David Smith, managing director at IMRG, said: "Developments in mobile commerce have led to the phenomenon of the ever-connected consumer who can access multiple retailer channels concurrently, while instantly comparing and contrasting with similar offerings on competitor sites."

While only 7% chose to provide immediate feedback, consumers did update their friends via Facebook about whether they were stuck in a long queue, whether they were receiving poor customer service or whether hygiene was poor.

"The need for high standards is more important than ever as any individual retailer store is now a potential showroom for millions," Smith said.

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