An investigation into whether or not technology could replace the need for sales assistants within retail
This paper presents an explorative study into whether or not technology can replace the need for sales assistants within retail. The research considers the current contribution of retail assistants and whether, given the development trend of the industry, these assistants will be needed in the longer term. The literature discusses different aspects of retail and technology. It explores customer service, internet shopping and artificial intelligence in retail in the present and the future. A qualitative research method was used to conduct the research since the project aimed to gather the opinions of others in depth, and convenience sampling was used to contact potential participants for the research project. Data was then gathered through the use of semi-structured interviews. Five participants were interviewed, all of whom had at least three years experience working in retail. Analysis of the data shows how vital sales assistants are in retail. Other themes that emerged were the different types of AI found in retail, the profile and contribution of sales assistants, and the current status and future potential of technology. Suggestions for additional research are made in the conclusion; the literature on some aspects considered by this paper is limited and future research should address these gaps.