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Catching channel hoppers to boost sales

 Using stores as showrooms for online purchases is the “new normal” for today’s tech- and Internet-savvy shoppers. So how do retailers “catch” these channel-hopping customers and “keep” them buying within their own brand?

The Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) believes retailers can increase sales both in stores and online by creating “mashops” that combine immersive online content with engaging in-store experiences. This idea is backed up by Cisco IBSG’s latest research, which revealed that digital content has reached a new level of influence.

Surprisingly, shoppers now prefer online sources to people when making buying decisions.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents named online reviews as the most important source of information when making a buying decision. This compares to just 41 percent of shoppers choosing friends and family and only 13 percent selecting in-store employees for the same purpose. This is dramatic shift from last year’s Cisco IBSG survey, where friends and family topped the list at 60 percent.

We also learned that digital content triggered more than 50 percent of respondents to make a purchase by providing information about products and good deals, as well as helping them determine what to buy. Online buying guides, retailer recommendations, solution guides, and videos all emerged as digital winners, being recognized by shoppers as highly valued and helpful.

In our concept tests, consumers liked experiences with large and bold touch screens. They wanted to be inspired by receiving recommendations and advice; searching extended ranges; comparing and contrasting features, prices, and reviews; and having several buying and delivery options. Generation Y men and women (ages 18-29), baby boomers (ages 50-64), and Silver women (65 and over) led the demand for these types of experiences.

Leading retailers are actively developing and testing mashop experiences to differentiate and revitalize their stores and brands. So, given consumers’ new channel-hopping behavior, what will you do to “catch ’em and keep ’em?”

 Catch ’Em and Keep ’Em point of view paper can be downloaded here

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