Retailers have been warned they must improve customer service and interaction if they want to compete successfully with the rise of Internet shopping. Charles Lloyd Jones, managing director of Josmart - Hong Kong's largest information technology product and services distributor - yesterday said a lack of time and poor service from retailers made shopping on the Net a viable option. To slow the growth of Internet shopping, retailers needed to improve personal contact and build a knowledge of the customer, he said. 'Shopping for pleasure and shopping for basic staples is very different . . . Hong Kong still needs to improve this aspect,' he said. 'The sensory experiences [of touch and smell of products] can be acted upon and built upon by experienced salesmen to make shopping an enjoyable experience.' He said 25 per cent of flower sales in the United States occur via the Net, while shopping for food is expected to account for 20 per cent of worldwide purchases in the next five years. Supermarket chain Wellcome set up its home page five years ago while two days ago Toys R Us went online, guaranteeing worldwide delivery.