Greater expectations

Consumers are asking for tomorrow, today

A historic convergence of technology trends is sparking a new retail era: the explosion of mobile technologies, the spread of social networks, a new generation of advanced analytics and the disruptive nature of “the cloud.” The transformation to this new era is well underway, with consumers already using and expecting even more innovation from today’s retailers.

The latest IBM Institute for Business Value Global Consumer Study investigates shoppers’ omnichannel expectations to find out how imminent is the arrival of this new retailing era. We surveyed 30,554 consumers in 16 countries to discover their attitudes about shopping, particularly as it pertains to adopting omnichannel capabilities.

Greater expections - Infographic

To determine the level of omnichannel adoption, we asked consumers where they made their last purchase. We find that the store still rules but it is losing share precipitously. The percentage of respondents who last shopped in a physical store declined from 85 percent in 2012 to 72 percent in 2013. The real winner was the online channel, which saw its share nearly double to 27 percent of shoppers versus 14 percent last year.

It is becoming all the more critical for retailers to connect with consumers one-on-one. IBM investigated three contact methods: Social handle, Location and Mobile number (SoLoMo) and found that shoppers’ SoLoMo adoption levels ultimately revealed four distinct consumer groups:

In particular, the Trailblazers stood out based on their high expectations that retailers provide SoLoMo capabilities. Trailblazers are the ones leading the path to an era of “self-serve” retail. Of all four groups, we see Trailblazers as the future of shoppers. Yet, it’s only a matter of time before many in the middle two groups (representing 69 percent of respondents) have the same level of expectations as Trailblazers.

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