Great article in the Atlantic if you’ve got a moment to spare: “The Unexpected Resilience of Humans in Retail”. Money quote:
Perhaps another reason that the salesperson has remained a fixture in American retail has less to do with what their pitch is and more to do with what they’re selling. Sales experts Andris Zoltners, PK Sinha, and Sally Lorimer recently wrote about this cohort in Harvard Business Review, and argued that the business of selling things—especially things that need explaining—isn’t so easy without people. As a larger share of America’s products and services have taken on a digital slant, there has emerged a market for salespeople who can hawk them. Zoltners, Sinha, and Lorimer think about this trend in the context of all the people companies employ to sell their products and services to other businesses—“B2B,” in industry parlance—but it is easy to see how this trend could affect retail, too: It is hard to imagine a machine capable of answering the barrage of questions faced by a Best Buy salesperson on any given day.