Smarter Shoppers Demand Personal Engagement: Study

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Smarter Shoppers Demand Personal Engagement: Study

Shoppers are looking for more customized promotions, and are willing to work with retailers to develop them, according to a new global survey of over 32,000 consumers by Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM.

According to the findings, the changing economy has given rise to a smarter consumer — one who uses technology to make more informed buying decisions, exchange information with peers, make purchases on the go and shop across multiple channels. At the same time, the increased use of technology has empowered consumers to become more vocal and demanding about their wants and needs.

“We are in a shopper’s market today, because consumer access to technology and information gives them all the power,” said Jill Puleri, IBM global industry retail executive at IBM Global Business Services. “Retailers cannot afford to sit still as this digital revolution happens. They must engage plugged-in consumers in new and different ways, on their terms, and with more bi-directional feedback and dialogue.”

The study also revealed that while shoppers are showing increased demand for multiple technology channels, they want to use different technologies for different activities:
—79 percent want to use Web sites to access and print coupons
—75 percent want to use mobile phones to find out where the nearest store is located
—66 percent want to see what goods are in stock before going into the store

In consumers’ eyes, the top areas of improvement for retailers were around delivering customized promotions and ensuring product availability. More than half (61 percent) of respondents said they would spend more with a retailer if the company got these two areas right.

To help retailers address these operational mandates, IBM has launched a new Center of Competency (CoC) for Retail, which was developed to provide industry expertise in the areas of business analytics, customer insights and merchandising to help retailers make the best use of technology to streamline costs, reduce inefficiencies, aid product development and speed go-to-market activities, while also helping retailers build new capabilities to better understand, track and respond to consumer preferences.

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