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Shoppers intimidated by high-end sales assistants

New research reveals that shoppers feel intimidated by the sales assistants they encounter in high-end stores and that many avoid such stores for this reason.

The study was conducted by MyVoucherCodes.co.uk as part of research into the shopping habits of Britons, with 1,521 men and women aged 18 and over taking part.

Respondents to the study were asked, “Do you ever feel intimidated by sales assistants in high-end stores?” to which over half, 52%, of respondents answered “yes.” In contrast, when asked “Do you ever feel intimidated by sales assistants in low-end stores?” three quarters, 76%, of respondents answered “no.”

Those who admitted to being ‘intimidated’ by sales assistants in high-end stores were then asked to explain why they felt that way. The majority, 48%, explained that they felt the sales assistants were ‘looking down on them’; whilst a quarter, 27%, thought that the sales assistants ‘knew they couldn’t afford the merchandise.’ In contrast, 22% simply felt intimidated by the sales assistants as they felt ‘pressured into buying.’

Those who admitted to having been ‘intimidated’ by sales assistants in high-end stores were asked if they ever avoided those types of stores, for that reason. To this, just over a third, 36%, of respondents answered “yes.”

“Sales assistants are not only an extremely important part in helping along the shopping process, but a reflection on the store brand,” said Mark Pearson, chairman of MyVoucherCodes.co.uk. “Retailers should always ensure that their assistants are welcoming to people from all walks of life and treated equally. Nevertheless, I think we can all empathise with those who claimed to have felt ‘pestered’ by them. There’s a fine art to being helpful, and a fine line between that and pressurising someone to buy”

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