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Overall in-store retail customer satisfaction has grown 23% over the past six years, according to the seventh annual Holiday Shopping Study from Motorola Solutions, which also found that retailers must offer more options for shoppers across all channels, including online, in-store and mobile as shoppers reported a significant increase in their use of smartphones for shopping-related activities. This article is copyright 2014 The Best Customer Guide.

Some shoppers continue to prefer self-service while others want store associate assistance and engagement. This includes equipping associates with innovative technology to answer questions and enable a faster check-out experience. Across the retail environment including online, mobile and in the store, technology solutions are helping retailers enable and improve every aspect of the shopper's experience.

Among the study's key findings:

  • Some 80% of retail associates agreed that improving in-store communication between staff and managers would have a significant positive effect on shopper satisfaction.
  • Forty-five percent of shoppers would buy at least 50% more merchandise from retailers that provided better customer service.
  • Almost six in 10 shoppers (58%) have a better shopping experience when store associates use handheld mobile computers to provide pricing and product availability information. More than 65% of store associates agreed that they could better serve customers with these technologies.
  • Retailers could recover up to 68% of out-of-stock (OOS) incidents if they are prepared to offer shoppers the option to order the items before leaving the store and shipping the items to their homes.
  • 61% of store associates offered purchase and ship options beyond traditional in-store purchases. Approximately 35% of store associates were able to offer online or mobile ordering with in-store pick up for OOS items and 30% could ship OOS items bought in-store to shoppers' homes.
  • Mobile point of sale (MPOS) solutions enhanced the experience of 48% of shoppers while 52% of retail associates recognised the positive effect of mobile checkouts.
  • 54% of all store associates still report that shoppers are better connected to product information than they are, but retailers are closing the gap as this figure dropped 5% from last year.
  • 60% of surveyed retail associates recognised the positive effect of mobile loyalty account access on the shopper experience.
  • 81% of Generation Y shoppers and nearly three-quarters (73%) of Generation X shoppers had used their personal mobile device for shopping-related activities.
  • Less than one-third (29%) of shoppers reported finding information faster on their smartphones than asking a store associate for help.

"Retailers have better equipped their stores and associates with technology in a meaningful way during the past six years, resulting in a better shopping experience and a significant leap in in-store shopper satisfaction," concluded Eduardo Conrado, senior vice president of marketing for Motorola Solutions. "By enabling more associates with technology and offering self-service shopping options, retailers are not only increasing sales but also driving greater customer satisfaction."