Consumers are put off by tactics of sales assistants

Two thirds of consumers admit they are put off by retail attendants making aggressive sales pitches, according to new research.

The team at conducted the study of 2000 UK-based consumers as part of research into Britons’ attitudes towards the retail sector and their experience of shopping.

When asked if a sales assistant had ever tried to actively sell a product to them in-store, every participant says they had.

Two thirds (68 per cent) say they are put off buying anything from the establishment when this happens, 21 per cent say that it really bothers them and the remaining 11 per cent state they don’t mind it either way.

Those who state that sales assistants trying to sell them a product in-store ‘really bothers them’ or ‘puts them off’ were asked why they feel this way.

Nearly a third (27 per cent) say it is distracting having someone talk to them, 22 per cent say they hear the same pitch in every shop and 17 per cent say that if they wanted to buy something they would do it anyway without asking.

Less than three quarters (71 per cent) think that active selling doesn’t work.

Researchers separately polled 968 sales assistants, all of whom revealed they had been working in the industry for at least 12 months.

Asked if they enjoyed active selling to their customers, 89 per cent state they do not enjoy it all. When asked why, the majority, 72 per cent, say that customers were often rude when replying, whilst 28 per cent state that they didn’t like it because ‘it never works’.

Leon Edwards, managing director at, thinks that, because active selling sometimes works, companies will encourage staff to approach every single customer, regardless of success rate.

Edwards adds, ‘They clearly don’t realise how negatively it’s viewed. Unfortunately many consumers now want to be left alone when they shop which can result in some even avoiding the high street and opting for online stores, where no human interaction is guaranteed.

‘With the pressure facing retailers right now, this research shows that there is a significant opportunity to drive customer engagement with the right type of intervention in store. If they work harder to make the staff member’s interaction more helpful and human, I’m sure they’d see better results.’

Further reading on customer service

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Freddie Halvorson

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

Related Topics


Leave a comment