A Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) survey released recently identifies new ways for retailers to "catch" and "keep" channel-hopping customers to revitalize brick-and-mortar stores. Conducted by Cisco's Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) — the company's global consultancy — and Cisco's retail marketing team, the study surveyed 1,000 U.S. and 1,000 UK shoppers. Among the research's many key findings was that retailers must respond to technology-savvy consumers by creating digitally rich, easy-to-use, technology-based experiences in the store to expand basket size and increase margins. These experiences "mash up" physical retailing with the best of rich online content.
The study revealed three specific shopping behaviors: (1) the influence that digital content has on consumer buying decisions, (2) how consumers engage in cross-channel shopping behavior, and (3) how consumers use technology while shopping. In addition, the survey polled shoppers about what kinds of technology-based experience prototypes they would like to use in stores. These cross-technology experiences, also known as "mashops" get their name because they "mash up" the virtual and physical worlds to create a new way to shop.
Click through for results from a Cisco survey that focuses on a new generation of digitally-rich, easy-to-use, technology-based experiences that make it easy for consumers to buy more both in the store and online.
The survey found that digital content can frequently trigger consumers to buy. Bringing online digital content into the store is especially powerful in influencing buying decisions at the point of sale.
- Nineteen percent of respondents were influenced to make a purchase with digital "inspiration" triggers
- Thirty percent use online videos to choose the right product or service
- Fifty-one percent of U.S. respondents now use or want to use an in-store kiosk for self-service of accessing Web-based content
- Forty-two percent of U.S. respondents use or are interested in using video screens or video walls within the store to make buying decisions
- Forty percent of U.S. respondents use or are interested in using mobile phones for in-store digital content delivery
- Thirty-five percent of U.S. respondents indicated current use or interest in using tablets for in-store digital content delivery
Internet ubiquity, personal technology adoption and e-commerce growth have produced a new consumer behavior — cross-channel shopping. In this environment, consumers hop from one channel to another throughout the shopping journey looking for the best deal. For retailers that have achieved success through traditional practices (price, product, promotion and placement), cross-channel shopping demands a new approach to win customers.
The survey discovered that cross-channel shopping behavior is prevalent and desired by most consumers, with nearly 74 percent of all respondents conducting online research before making in-store purchasing decisions.
- Fifty-three percent of shoppers reported current activity or interest in conducting research at an in-store kiosk and making their purchase immediately in the store
- Forty-five percent reported current activity or interest in conducting research with a mobile device and then making their purchase in the store
- Forty-four percent reported current activity or interest in conducting research with a mobile device and then making their purchase on a PC
The survey also explored the types of innovative experiences retailers could provide to meet these new consumer behaviors by asking participants about five technology-based experiences they may want to use during the course of their shopping. The feedback shows how consumers want to use technology to make more informed and quicker decisions at point-of-purchase.
The survey asked shoppers about their use of a more immersive shopping experience, where by standing in front of a large, full-length screen, they could select and "try on" clothing and accessories virtually. They also could view items such as furniture, lighting and blinds in a virtual room setting.
- Forty-six percent wanted to "try on" items
- Forty-four percent wanted to coordinate items such as furniture, clothes and accessories
- Twenty-nine percent wanted to view/buy available products
This technology-based experience provides shoppers with a large, interactive display to browse or look for specific products. The screen shows "go withs," customer ratings, "likes" and directions to products within the store. The most popular features included:
- Forty-five percent liked the ability to compare products and pricing
- Thirty-two percent enjoyed having access to detailed product specs
- Twenty-nine percent were inclined to "like" products on the screen
- Twenty-seven percent liked having directions to more easily locate products in the store
Shoppers were asked about what information they preferred to have delivered either through interactive digital displays at the shelf level, or via an employee's tablet or shopper's smartphone. With this option, they could receive expert advice through self-service guided selling or via video-chat with a remote expert.
- Forty-three percent of shoppers wanted to compare products and prices
- Forty percent wanted to compare prices at a leading retailer
- Thirty-one percent wanted detailed product specs
- Thirty percent wanted a guide for selecting the best products
Retailers could also provide shoppers with a personal greeting on their mobile devices as they entered the store, and customized offers based on past transactions as well as "likes" on the retailer's Facebook page.
- Forty-nine percent liked the ability to compare products and prices
- Forty percent liked the ability to opt in/out
- Thirty-seven percent liked retailers to "push" offers for big purchases
- Thirty-six percent liked directions to products in the store
Finally, shoppers were asked about how they would use a large in-store, high-definition and constantly updated display that showed new products, top sellers and most "liked." products within the store.
- Forty-four percent liked up-to-the-minute special offers
- Forty-three percent liked what's new in the store
- Forty-one percent liked limited-time specials
- Thirty-two percent liked directions to products in the store