After about a decade of hearing that buying online is the buyer's utopia, a growing number of consumers and businesses alike are finally screaming: ENOUGH! Two polls recently revealed that while people are willing to shop online, when it comes to BUYING, they much rather speak with a human being.
The first poll (from Harris Interactive) revealed that more than three quarters (77%) of online shoppers say they'd like to "have contact with a real person before they make a purchase." Note, that people don't mind shopping online, but when it comes to BUYING, they want a real person.
The second poll from the market research firm GfK Technology (and co-sponsored by Brightkite, a mobile social networking service) revealed that a whopping 87% of 1, 000 adults quetsion said they'd prefer to deal with other people in person, rather than computers and smartphones.
As evidence like this accumulates, it becomes increasingly clear that the rampant computerization of society is putting a premium on real live experiences, involving real live people. And that's good for sales professionals, who are (last time I looked) real live people.
Of course, whether or not people will pay MORE in order to talk to a human is an entirely different issue. I suspect that the sales pro would need to be able to add more than just a warm body to the equation. Some kind of expertise, or even help finding the best price, is probably required.