Disconnected store experiences are driving shoppers to distraction and losing retailers’ custom, according to a new report from Vodat International, a leading communications and network provider. The ‘More than words – why retailers and customers are becoming disconnected by the store network’ report suggests that, while the installation of private communication networks has enabled stores to empower their sales staff with access to product information and transactional history, this doesn’t always lead to improved customer service. In fact, almost half of consumers (43%) say they have experienced frustrations with sales associates not being able to deal with their queries in-store, either through lack of available information, being passed between store members or referred on to the store manager to get an answer about a product or service. Insufficient information being available to customers in-store has caused 40% to abandon their purchase and seek an item from another store, with the average shopper saying that they would only wait five minutes for sales associates to answer a query before giving up altogether. And it seems that bad customer service experiences from poor communication have a lasting impact on shoppers; 32% would be put off revisiting a store, while 20% say they wouldn’t buy from the same brand in another channel following a frustrating experience in-store. While many retailers are now looking to in-store WiFi to deliver staff empowerment and customer connectivity, this may not be sufficient to accommodate the increasing number of devices connecting to the store network, the report warns. “A connected store is the key to conversion but when it comes to successfully blending the digital and physical within bricks-and-mortar outlets, better customer communications relies on more than a simple WiFi connection alone,” said Paul Leybourne, Head of Sales at Vodat International. “A secure and resilient store network, which has the bandwidth to allow all parties to be logged on at the same time, can greatly improve customer experiences.” By underpinning communications through a connected network, customers can access the store’s WiFi, enabling them to answer their own questions, while store associates with mobile devices are able to look up inventory availability, access product catalogues, process orders and take payments on the spot. 60% of customers believe knowledgeable staff deliver better customer service – with a fifth suggesting this could be delivered through staff being armed with mobile devices in-store. A further 20% would like to see more tablet information points in-store, empowering the customer to answer their own questions or find out more information for themselves. For further information, or to download the full report, please visit: http://www.vodat-int.com/resources ENDS Notes to editors Survey of 795 UK adults conducted on behalf of Vodat International by Redshift Research in June 2015 Additional stats: Top five customer communication in-store ‘peeves’: • Staff not being able to answer my questions (43%) • Receiving inconsistent answers from different sales managers (37%) • Staff making up the answers to questions (30%) • Lack of information points in-store (20%) • Having to wait while staff check information ‘out back’ About Vodat International Vodat International specialises in providing communication solutions to enable cross-channel retailing. Vodat’s specialist knowledge and experience in retailing enables it to leverage value from each of its client’s networks through the development and implementation of retail specific products and services, enabling them to boost revenue through any channel and improve the customer experience. Vodat’s client base includes 99p Stores, Beaverbrooks, Coast, Dune, East, Fat Face, L.K.Bennett, Spar, Welcome Break, Whistles and White Stuff making it the leading player in retail communications. www.vodat-int.com Press contact details sarah.stevens@fieldworksmarketing.co.uk / 0845 034 5602