Online Consumers Are Savvy Shoppers, IBM Survey Finds
A global survey conducted by IBM of more than 32,000 consumers found technology is giving shoppers a new source of power -- pushing retailers to engage them more directly via increased use of personalized promotions and offerings. The study also revealed that while shoppers are showing increased demand for multiple technology channels, they want to use different technologies for different activities. For instance, 79 percent want to use Websites to access and print coupons, 75 percent want to use mobile phones to find out where the nearest store is located and 66 percent want to see what goods are in stock before going into the store.
From the consumers' eyes, the top areas of improvement for
retailers were around delivering customized promotions and ensuring product
availability, and 61 percent of respondents said they would spend more with a
retailer if they got these two areas right. In addition, IBM's analysis
shows that consumers are increasingly ready to use technologies to interact
both with retailers and with other consumers, and this trend is even more
pronounced in growth markets, particularly in Brazil, China and India.
To help retailers address these operational mandates, IBM is launching a new Center of Competency (CoC) for retail that will provide industry expertise in the areas of business analytics, customer insights and merchandising. Jill Puleri, IBM global industry retail executive for IBM Global Business Services, said businesses are in a shopper's market today, because consumer access to technology and information gives them all the power. "Retailers cannot afford to sit still as this digital revolution happens," she said. "They must engage plugged-in consumers in new and different ways, on their terms, and with more bi-directional feedback and dialogue."
IBM points to that Vineyard Vines, a mid-sized lifestyle
brand and retailer of preppy clothing, which is using IBM technology to bridge
the gap between its various shopping channels while providing customers with a
more targeted and personalized shopping experience based on their purchasing
history and preferences. Vineyard Vines is using IBM WebSphere Commerce to
standardize its in-store, online and traditional catalog business on a single
"Growing our business meant we needed to take a
customer-focused approach - providing a uniform experience whether a customer
is shopping online or in person," said CEO and Co-Founder Ian Murray. "For us,
getting a clear and accurate view of the customer required technology that
would allow us to know more about them - where they shop, what they buy and how
often. We sought a solution to help us deliver a brand experience beyond
individual channels. With WebSphere Commerce we have found it."