On the one hand, the consumer is better educated than at any other time in history. Today's shopper researches products online, collects material, knows what they need and why they need it. The shopper of today is far removed from the shopper of 30 years ago, who often began his/her shopping research and ended it in the same step – by talking to a salesperson.
But on the other hand, today's shopper needs more help than ever before. Quality customer education and service, whether delivered by a human being or a technology solution, is more important now than ever. It used to be easy to buy a phone, because there were only so many models available; today, you need to know about wireless range and frequency and VoIP compatibility.
On one level, those two circumstances might appear contradictory – after all, if the shopper is so much smarter now, shouldn’t they need less help? The truth is, the help and the knowledge they can gain is the part of the shopping experience.