A new IBM survey of more than 30,000 consumers released today 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 behaviour: 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:
- 70% 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.
- 49% 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% increase since IBM’s last retail study a year ago.
Serve me, don’t sell me
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 personalised 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. 40% of the people surveyed want to check product prices wherever they are and get promotions based on the items they scan, while 50% are willing to use a personal mobile device to avoid the checkout lane.
“As we’re finally starting to come out of a very painful recession, we’re seeing consumers who are finally optimistic about the future. This new attitude, however, doesn’t mean they’re rushing to stores and spending like the pre-recession heyday,” said Jill Puleri, IBM Global Industry Retail Executive, IBM Global Business Services. “Retailers need to personalise the shopping experience for consumers, using technology to better understand and serve their consumer, if they want to win in this new environment.”