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Sales Associates Matter, They Really Matter

Even in the era of online sales — or perhaps because of it — sales associates continue to hold tremendous sway over shoppers, a new study shows.

The report, by Sales floor, a startup that brings the assisted sales floor experience to websites, found that 84 percent of shoppers seek out sales associates for help or advice, and 87 percent are more likely to buy an item that was recommended by one.

What’s more, 77 percent of shoppers are more likely to make a purchase from a sales associate who has helped them before; 73 percent say sales associates who remember their personal preferences impact how much they buy; and 62 percent would prefer to receive personalized marketing emails from a sales associate rather than the retailer he or she works for.

“Our study results uncover a direct correlation between sales associates and overall sales, which mimics what we are hearing from our retail customers,” said Salesfloor co-founder and chief client officer Ben Rodier.

Rodier also believes an opportunity exists for retailers to improve the e-commerce experience by allowing customers to shop online with local sales associates in tow — an option that 53 percent of shoppers said they’d like to have and, full disclosure, a service that Salesfloor offers.

The company’s “2016 Omnichannel Retail Associate Study” is based on a survey of 500 U.S. consumers ages 18-65.