5 Billion Smart Consumers With US$5.4 Trillion To Spend = Holy Grail Of Competitive Retail (IBM Survey)

An IBM Survey to determine how shopping habits are changing and what consumers expect of retailers described consumers as "instrumented, interconnected, intelligent... and more certain than ever about what they want from retailers."  If harnessed wisely, these behaviors provide tremendous opportunities for innovative, competitive retailers to stand out. The survey of more than 30,000 people by IBM's Institute For Business Value, Meeting The Demands Of The Smarter Consumer, noted that population growth and greater prosperity would create a new pool of nearly 5 billion consumers called “affluent potentials”, with some US$5.4 trillion to spend.

By way of explanation, Instrumented, as used by IBM meant consumers were increasingly calling on a wealth of new technologies to get instantaneous access to myriad information about retailers, their products, and the shopping experiences of other consumers. Interconnected meant the consumers were ready to use these new technologies to interact with retailers and other consumers. And Intelligent meant consumers were more certain about what they wanted from retailers, now and in the future.

The Research Revealed That Consumers Were:

* More enlightened and empowered than ever.

* Placing ever-greater demands on their retailers to either "get it right" or lose their business.

* Utilizing new technologies that allow them access to huge amounts of information about retailers and their offerings.

* Knowing more than ever about what they want, how they want it and whom they want it from.

* Willing to explore new ways to interface with their retailers of choice.

Conclusions About The "Smarter" Shopper:

* It's a shopper's market. Consumers have access to a huge amount of information about retailers and their products via new technologies. They are using this information to shop around more carefully: 41 percent of the people polled had switched from one primary retailer to another or started purchasing some goods from a secondary retailer during the past year.

* Higher consumer expectations. Consumers would like to see more personalized promotions and consistently available products; also better value, quality and variety.

* Greater use of social networking. 33% of respondents were likely to “follow” a retailer on a social networking site, in addition to swapping notes, so a single consumer’s shopping experience could influence the decisions many others make about what to buy and where to buy it.

* Shoppers want to help. 78% of respondents said they'd be happy to collaborate with retailers in designing new products and services that meet their needs. 61% percent of respondents are prepared to spend more money with retailers that implement their suggestions.

* New avenues to reach shoppers via mobile and social.  62% of those who want to use their mobile phones to shop and make purchases would be willing to buy products that are advertised in magazines or on billboards by sending a text; 64% of those who want to use digital television (TV) to shop and make purchases would be willing to buy products that are advertised on TV by pressing a button on their remote controls.

* Generation Y is the one on which to keep your eye. Generation Y respondents (those aged 20-30) are the most willing to use multiple technologies and alternative channels. They are also the most likely to follow a retailer on a social networking site and to reward a retailer financially for improvements the retailer makes.

Bottom Line For Your Bottom Line:  

Consumers are getting smarter, more diverse and more demanding, expecting "anytime access to information, products and services." Retailers who deliver on these demands will thrive.  Those smart, competitive retailers who keep pace with today's empowered consumers via pricing and assortment intelligence (Retail Intelligence Suite) among other helpful intelligence solutions, will experience longevity and prosperity. 

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Gilon Miller, CMO

About Author

Gilon is a seasoned marketing, sales and business development executive with over 15 years of experience in the software and Internet business. He is the Founder and CEO of GuruShots. Previously, Gilon was the CMO of Upstream Commerce, VP of Marketing at iMDsoft and Director of Global Marketing at SAP. He earned an MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University.
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