A new IBM survey of 26,000 global consumers released on Jan. 15 at the 2013 National Retail Federation Convention in New York City finds that they are diversifying the way they shop for and acquire goods—becoming increasingly open to buying both online and in-store depending on their needs at the time of purchase.
While more than 80% of shoppers chose the store to make their last non-grocery purchase, only half are committed to returning there the next time they buy.
Consumers are in a transitional state, according to IBM's research. The study reports that 35% are unsure whether they would next shop at a store or online. Nine percent are ready to commit to making future purchases online.
"Today's consumer is sophisticated and opportunistic, navigating between store and online environments interchangeably to meet their shopping needs of the moment," says Jill Puleri, global retail leader, IBM Global Business Services. "To satisfy clients, retailers must deliver a consistent, convenient shopping experience across each consumer touch point, extending from the store to online and back again."
The IBM survey also reports that nearly half of online purchases in eight tracked product categories resulted from showrooming—a burgeoning trend in which consumers browse goods at a store, but ultimately buy them online.
Significantly, nearly a quarter of these online shoppers intended to buy their items in the store, but ultimately purchased online—primarily due to price and convenience.
The IBM survey reveals that consumers are seeking a truly integrated shopping experience. Retailers must better connect their online and physical stores, blending benefits into both at various points in the shopping cycle—from research to purchase—to build brand loyalty and repeat sales. In the store, retailers must infuse digital experiences, enable store associates with the technology to save the sale and embrace consumer-owned technology. Online, retailers most optimize their websites for various devices.
[Infographic courtesy of PRNewsFoto/IBM]