Top 3 Business Challenges for Retailers

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Data from Retail Systems Research shows that retailers struggle to improve customer service without driving costs sky-high. (RSR Research) Data from Retail Systems Research shows that retailers struggle to improve customer service without driving costs sky-high. (RSR Research)

New data from Retail Systems Research (RSR) indicates that improving customer service while holding the line on payroll costs is the top in-store challenge that retailers face today, above employee productivity and consumer price sensitivity.

Stores operate within a fixed budget, the report, What's In Store for Stores? Benchmark Report 2014, says, and "customer service must improve without driving costs through the roof."

Retailers in the Fashion/Short Lifecycle, Perishable Goods and Consumer Electronics categories were the most concerned about the customer service versus payroll cost issue, with 70 percent or more of respondents in all three categories reporting that topic as a concern.

The survey was conducted from March through May of this year, and sampled 161 qualified retail respondents, of whom 21 percent were C-level or VP executives, 47 percent were middle-managers, and 32 percent were individual contributors.

The companies sampled ranged from those with less than $50 million per year in revenue (12 percent) to those with over $5 billion per year in revenue (24 percent) and everything in between.

The majority of the retailers had a headquarters in the United States (45 percent) and a retail presence here as well (73 percent.)

One way that retailers can improve customer service is by integrating customer care functions into mobile apps they are already providing to consumers to spur sales.

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