More shoppers want customer service from gadgets over humans: Study

(Reuters) - Most buyers prefer to be left alone as they shop in store for items like apparel and prefer to use in-store technology for customer service over personalized attention from store employees, according to a new study.

The findings are based on a shopper survey conducted by HRC Retail Advisory and highlights the challenges retail chains increasingly face as they try to find the right balance between staffing and technology in stores.

For example, about 85 percent of those surveyed want to be able to check prices at price scanners instead of having to ask a store employee for pricing information. Seventy six percent of overall respondents rated an in-store app that will provide personal recommendations as important.

"It's not that they don't want any service at all, but what consumers increasingly want is to be able to control the service they are looking for," Farla Efros, president of HRC Retail Advisory, told Reuters.

The trend, however, did not hold with shoppers looking to buy electronics, a majority of whom were still looking for personal assistance from store workers.

The retail consultancy interviewed 2,903 adults between the ages of 10 and 73 as part of the survey in the United States and Canada. It was conducted from Feb. 20 to March 7 and has a margin of error of +/- 2 percent.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Las Vegas; Editing by Himani Sarkar)