Self-service Shopping Grows in Popularity: Cisco

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Self-service Shopping Grows in Popularity: Cisco


Sixty-one percent of global consumers are willing to shop in an omni-channel, self-service, completely automated store, with vending machines and kiosk stations offering a virtual customer service, according to a new survey conducted by San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco.

The Cisco Customer Experience Report examines the impact of automation, self-service and omni-channel shopping experiences and consumers’ views about providing their personal information in exchange for more personalized services.

When “checking out,” the majority of consumers globally (52 percent) prefer self-check-out stations in order to avoid waiting in line to make purchases, according to the research. Additionally, younger consumers were the most accepting of this shopping experience: 57 percent of Generation Y (aged 18-29) and 55 percent of Generation X shoppers (aged 30 to 49) prefer self-check-out, while baby boomers (50+) represent only 45 percent.

“The data in the Cisco Customer Experience Report shows a growing consumer desire for an omni-channel shopping experience, where the speed and personalization they receive online is delivered in an increasing self-service manner in the store,” said Jon Stine, Retail Services Practice, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG)

Overall, the report demonstrates consumer interest in more automated and personalized shopping experiences, the type of connections made possible by what Cisco describes as the Internet of Everything (IoE). The Internet of Everything brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before. Cisco recently released an Internet of Everything economic analysis that identified a $14.4 trillion in bottom-line business value that will be created over the next decade by the Internet of Everything innovations.

The Cisco Customer Experience Report surveyed 1,511 consumers across 10 countries to examine the perceptions of consumers on their desired retail shopping experience. Here are some of the findings.

  • One-third (34 percent) of global consumers use multiple channels when shopping. The survey shows 23 percent of consumers recently made in-store purchases based on research they did online, and 11 percent of shoppers purchased online after seeing it in a retail store.
  • The majority of consumers globally (52 percent) prefer self-check-out stations in order to avoid waiting in line to make a purchase.
  • When researching products in the store, 43 percent prefer using their own mobile phone, while 57 percent of consumers prefer using in-store touch screens.
  • The majority (61 percent) of global consumers would be willing to shop in a completely automated store with vending machines with products and kiosk stations offering virtual customer service. And 42 percent of consumers would prefer to shop in these kinds of environments.
  • Almost half (49 percent) of consumers would allow an automated engine to make purchases for replacement products automatically. This could include restocking milk in the refrigerator.
  • Half of global consumers (52 percent) would likely purchase a device to help them stay on budget for clothing and other retail purchases.
  • Two-thirds (65 percent) of global consumers are comfortable receiving retail advice based on their location through their mobile device.

In-person assistance is valued when shopping

  • Although many shoppers want automation when purchasing, consumers are evenly divided, with 58 percent of consumers preferring help from an in-store associate. And when shopping online, slightly more consumers prefer to instant-message with a sales associate (30 percent), or call one on the phone (28 percent) than send an email (27 percent).
  • While 54 percent of consumers use mobile phones when shopping in a store, only 27 percent of consumers said they use retail mobile applications.
  • More than a quarter (27 percent) of customers use retail mobile applications. They use these apps for checking prices (56 percent), finding sales/discounts/coupons (53 percent), scanning barcodes (48 percent), reviewing consumer product reviews (45 percent).
  • Consumers seek mobile solutions to track sales and promotions (62 percent), coupons (46 percent), price changes (47 percent), and product availability (45 percent).

Consumers are willing to trust retailers with personal information in exchange for more personal customer service

  • Almost half (49 percent) of consumers are comfortable with retailers collecting personal information when shopping online in exchange for more personalized recommendations and customer service.
  • Many consumers (39 percent) would reveal their personal income in exchange for more personalized service, discounts and sale promotions.
  • More than half (54 percent) of consumers globally said they are OK with retailers storing their purchase history in exchange for more personalized service.
  • More than a third (35 percent) of consumers are OK (25 percent) or don’t care (10 percent) if retailers share personal information about them to vendors in exchange for more personalized services, with 46 percent of consumers stating they are selective on which retailer websites they provide personal information.

Buyer beware: What consumers don’t trust about retailers

  • Only 43 percent of consumers feel their data is protected by clothing retailers overall (both in store and online). And only 32 percent of consumers trust retailers to store their credit card information in exchange for faster checkout. However, 60 percent of consumers trust certain retailer websites to keep information about them secure.
  • Consumer reviews preferred to retail sales pitch: When shopping for clothing online, 83 percent of consumers rely on product reviews from other shoppers (53 percent) or friends on social media (30 percent) in purchasing decisions, while only 23 percent rely on recommendations made from retailer employees via online chat.
  • When a retailer is resolving a customer service issue reported via social media, the vast majority of consumers (94 percent) would expect a personal response, with most (68 percent) expecting an personal email and 46 percent expect a phone call.