As NRF wrapped up it’ s 100th annual convention in New York City, there was a lot of talk around the topic of how to “save the retail store.” Accelerating use of technology by consumers is shaping their behavior and expectations in store. These changes, in turn, are challenging the sales and margins of retailers.
To determine how retailers can embrace this “technology-shaped shoppers,” the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) surveyed 1,000 shoppers from the United States and United Kingdom. It found that consumers want a new way to shop. This new shopping experience is called “mashops.” It combines web-like experiences with the shopping experience in stores, creating a “Mash up” of the physical and virtual worlds.
In addition, the research also revealed that retailers should pay attention to two key customer segments: calculating shoppers (56 percent of the general population) and extreme shoppers (11 percent of the general population, with a high representation from Generation Y). And while extreme shoppers receive the most attention, calculating shoppers have the greatest impact on retailers’ revenues and margins.
In fact, behavior of calculating shoppers is increasingly shaped by technology. One in three calculating shoppers use retailers’ Facebook pages and coupon-sharing sites, while 1 in 4 use web-based group buying sites such as Groupon. Most important for retailers, calculating shoppers will respond positively to mashops.
- Personalized recommendations with a touch screen at the shelf edge: More than 54 percent of respondents wanted to try this service, with 73 percent preferring access at the shelf edge via a touch screen.
- Product-price comparisons and peer reviews on touch screens and mobile devices: Again, 54 percent were interested in using this solution, with 65 percent preferring shelf-edge touch screens.
- Virtual video adviser combined with web content on a large screen or tablet device: This solution was liked by 44 percent of respondents.
Mashops create a win-win situation by allowing shoppers to receive the information and convenience of web-based experiences while, at the same time, being able to touch, feel, and see the products they want to buy. For retailers, mashops promise to preserve margins and increase sales.
Mashops bring the Internet into the store, and take the store to the Internet.