The fourth annual research study of digital shopping behavior by Cisco Consulting Services, released at NRF's Big Show, focused on digital mass market shoppers who represent 80 percent of the population and "Uber-Digitals" who represent 18 percent of the population (up from 11 percent last year). The study zeroed in on shopper attitudes on personalization, device and channel usage and attitudes towards in-store digital concepts.
Some of the insights:
- A fast-growing percentage of shoppers often use smartphones and tablets when in physical stores and access other digital devices along the shopping journey. As Jon Stine, the North American lead for CCS puts it, "Today's mobile phone is a remote control for shopping. The growing trend of consumers using mobile phones when shopping in the store is a wake-up call...."
- Shoppers are leery of sharing personal information with retailers, who need to build higher levels of trust in order to gain the potential benefits of customer data—even 25 percent of Uber-Digitals did not want retailers using any personal information. Yet, many shoppers will provide more personal data, if incentives are offered, the most popular of which is savings on their next purchase.
- While shoppers want personalized offers, they prefer to receive them via e-mail at home, rather than getting offers while in stores.
- Online reviews are more valued than advice from friends and family, and especially store associates.
- Shopper expectations continue to increase, with better values the most important, followed by price visibility, wider product range, and information access.
Cisco also tested some in-store concepts, including:
- A smartphone app that combines a customer's relevant offers, coupons, and loyalty points and offers them the net best price for a product—this was most popular.
- Second most popular was a "mobile concierge" app that greets customers as they enter the store and provides information and offers.
- Shoppers had interest in a digital gamification solution that offers them special promotions for a limited time, vie their digital devices, as well as another solution that rewards them for collecting tokens or QR codes in stores.
- Other concepts tested include remote consultation with an expert; endless aisles; a solution builder that suggests projects, builds shopping lists and offers recipes; and social shopping, which integrates popular social sites.
Recommended actions include demonstrating to shoppers that a retailer will be careful with the collection and use of their data and use it in a way that benefits them; paying closer attention to Uber-Digitals; and building network infrastructure that can meet shopper expectations.