Does salesperson quality really matter?

Salespersons self-efficiency is supposed to be weakened by the increasing amount of consumers, who have been adopting a showrooming behaviour while shopping.

Earlier I published a dedicated a post to explain the showrooming behaviour and explained why the mobile channel is re-shaping the retail scenery.

To refresh what showrooming means:
“showrooming is a practice whereby consumers visit a brick-and-mortar retail store to (1) evaluate products/services firsthand and (2) use mobile technology while in-store to compare products for potential purchase via any number of channels.”
(Rapp et al., 2015, p.360)

Does showrooming affect sales personnel?

Mobile technology empowers consumers since they can access to out-of-store sources of information such as online reviews, social media and additional information related to the product (Shankar, 2014). Therefore, consumers possess more information before interacting with in-store sale personnel.

Hence, some researchers suggest training salespersons to make them aware of the possible various out-of-store sources consumers might have access to or that they are currently watching while in a store (Rapp et al., 2015). Therefore, consumers’ empowerment could affect sales personnel self-efficiency and performance. 

Salespeople should be available rather than be experts.

However, a current empirical piece of research (Gensler, Neslin, and Verhoef, 2017) demonstrates that it is not the quality of vendors that matters, but quantity.

The latter findings are surprising to me. When I was working as a sales assistant for a worldwide company, and in particular when I was promoting brands such as LG and Logitech in-store, I noticed somehow something in-between that is quality and quantity were both significant.

I noticed that when I tried to ask questions to understand the extent of search and evaluation that in-store consumers hade made before entering the store, consumers were more interested and engaged in the conversation, which brought me to increase sales and achieve my sale goals of the day. On the other hand, I could not assist all the consumers, and I believe that additional staff at that point would have played a significant role not only for sales but also to increase consumers’ perception towards the offline channel: they would have been served quickly and collected valuable information.

What is your personal experience?

Wheather you are working/have worked in retail or simply have read a piece of news or observed this phenomenon, what do you think?

Gensler,S., Neslin, S.A. and Verhoef, P.C. (2017) ‘The Showrooming Phenomenon: It’s More than Just About Price’, Journal of Interactive Marketing, 38(2017), pp.29-43.

Rapp A., et al. (2015) ‘Perceived customer showrooming behavior and the effect on retail salesperson self-efficacy and performance’, Journal of Retailing, 91(2), pp.358-369.

Shankar, V. (2014) ‘Shopper Marketing 2.0: Opportunities and Challenges’, Review of Marketing Research, 11(2014), pp.189-208. doi: 10.1108/S1548-643520140000011007 

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