Great customer service is, and always will be, the cornerstone of a successful retail business. With an overwhelming amount of information now available to consumers, expectations on retail staff have shifted again.

The latest findings in AMP Capital’s Recommended Retail Practice Report reveal that shoppers are looking to retailers for honest expert guidance and advice to help them narrow their choices and make the right purchasing decision.

When asked about the top service factors for returning to a retailer store, shoppers indicated that they valued a store that:

  • Feels genuine and trustworthy (79%)
  • Offers proactive customer service and assistance (70%)
  • Surprises and delights them through their experience (64%)
  • Is accessible both in-store and online (59%)
  • Delivers unexpected in-store samples and gifts (58%)

Guiding the decision-making process: what do shoppers expect?

We spoke to some shoppers to unveil the role of retailers in helping customers navigate through the plethora of information available to them. These are their top recommendations.

1. Be in the know

Shoppers want access to honest and expert opinions, product ratings, or to have what’s most popular on social media or online highlighted to them.

For example: West Elm offers free design services to customers whether you’re planning a party or styling your entire home.

2. Make the experience easy

Shoppers are keen for retailers to provide a seamless and helpful experience from online to in-store and vice versa and utilise technology to provide a useful service.

For example: AS Colour in New Zealand introduced Colourmatic into their stores, a virtual stylist that could analyse colours best suited to your skin tone and provide advice on your outfit.

3. Go above and beyond

Customers value retailers who provide a service that helps to solve a problem as well as giving honest advice on how well a product will suit their needs. It was highly recommended that retailers go the extra mile to show them how much they want to help.

For example: Seattle’s Pike Place Fishmarket is renowned for delivering outstanding service. The team’s mantra is to take all of the attention off themselves and focus solely on how they can serve their customer, and even make their day.

“There is so much information overload – I need staff to help me make decisions I can feel confident about.” – Mandy, female shopper, Bay of Plenty

The 2014 Recommended Retail Practice Report can be downloaded from Also available are infographics, customer testimonials, best practice examples and graphs for images.


1Research conducted via an online community, during which over 2,000 posts were received from shoppers in just two weeks. The insights from this community were quantified by 1,010 Australian respondents aged over 18, in September 2014 (conducted by Direction First).