With the holiday shopping season in full-swing and Black Friday right around the corner, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are hoping their in-store strategies will help attract a greater share of consumer spend.

For consumers – who expect frictionless and enjoyable shopping experiences – a knowledgeable and fully capable sales associate can be the difference between being delighted and leaving frustrated with no purchase. In fact, according to a new retail store associate survey by Tulip (www.tulip.com), a mobile application provider focused on empowering workers in retail stores, mobile-assist devices help workers increase sales and improve the overall customer experience.

While this may be the case, the survey also found that 61% of store associates are actually not armed with mobile devices and only 17% are interacting with customers and expanding the relationship beyond the four walls of the store. Additional key findings from the survey include:

° Nearly half of store associates say that the consumer is sometimes more knowledgeable about the products than they are; this confirms what consumers have said in a recent Tulip survey, where 83% of consumers believed they are more knowledgeable than store associates

° The majority of store associate respondents (44%) say they spend too much of their time folding clothes and stocking shelves – tasks that take away from time spent engaging with customers

° When asked which option they would find most beneficial in an assisted mobile tool, 40% chose looking up inventory in-store, at other locations and online, 22% said access to detailed product information, and 14% picked ability to make price and product comparisons

° Nearly a third of associates said they don’t have the ability to look up store inventory in real time

° Forty percent can only look up inventory that’s currently in stock in the physical retail location, highlighting the missed opportunity to order online in the store to save sales on out-of-stock items

° Sixty-five percent of store associates never text or email customers after they leave the store – another missed opportunity to improve service and help expand customer relationships

° A majority of store associates’ job performance (68%) is evaluated based on overall store sales and also sales they personally drove, areas that mobile devices have been proven to help.