Many brick and mortar retailers may think that extensive in-person interaction and service is how they can differentiate themselves in today’s competitive environment. Not so, according to recent research by HRC Retail Advisor.

For decades, retailers thrived by employing in-store associates to provide shoppers with excellent customer service, advice and individualized attention. In the digital age, however, consumers prefer much less human interaction.

shoppingThe survey of nearly 3,000 consumers found that an astounding 95% prefer to be left alone while shopping, unless they specifically need a store associate’s help. This indicates that retailers need to effectively balance human customer service and recommendations with the right technologies that provide shoppers with the help and product information they need.

When asked which offerings are especially important to the in-store experience, 85% of respondents said price scanners and 69% wanted the ability to reserve online and pick up in-store.

Nearly 70% of Generation Z respondents and 63% of millennial respondents said they turn to social media to share pictures and gather opinions from friends and family before they buy, so it’s not surprising that 30% of all consumers surveyed said that having free in-store Wi-Fi was an important feature when shopping.

Tom Schuman is the senior vice president of communications & operations for the Indiana Chamber. He is also the editor of the Chamber’s award-winning BizVoice magazine and has been with the organization for 20 years.