A new IBM survey of more than 30,000 consumers demonstrates that, while shoppers are optimistic about the future, they have developed attitudes during the global recession over the past several years that still dictate their behavior: They buy what they need, search for items on sale and wait longer to purchase, and they have embraced the use of technology throughout every step of the process.
According to the study:
-- Seventy percent are positive about their income situation.
-- However, the shopping attitude is that frugality reigns. Their top three shopping attitudes are to only buy what they need, search for items on sale and wait longer to purchase.
-- Forty-nine percent of respondents were "instrumented consumers" -- those who use two or more technologies, e.g. a website, mobile device or in-store kiosk to shop
-- a 36 percent increase since IBM's last retail study a year ago.
In this new environment, service is paramount, and consumers should be at the center of any retailer's strategy. In order to succeed, retailers need to do three things: listen to, know and empower consumers.
-- Listen: From Facebook to Twitter, to blogs, YouTube and reviews, shoppers are leveraging social media more than ever before to discuss retailers, products and brands with friends, family members and strangers. Retailers that listen to and participate in these conversations can obtain added insight into what customers want.
-- Know: While listening is important, a personalized shopping experience is still dominant in the mind of the consumer. By offering promotions on items they regularly buy and remembering things such as preferred payment methods and receipt types, retailers can increase spend and loyalty among shoppers.
-- Empower: Finally, retailers must empower consumers by making it as easy as possible to shop seamlessly across channels and letting them choose how to interact. Forty percent of the people we surveyed want to check product prices wherever they are and get promotions based on the items they scan, while 50 percent are willing to use a personal mobile device to avoid the checkout lane.
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