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CONSUMER STUDY: IMB Consumer Survey- Valued By Retailers


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Savvy consumers around the world are increasingly connected to each other through a number of mobile devices, tablets and applications. There are over 2 billion internet users globally, with 800 million on Facebook and 100 million on Twitter, not to mention the scores of people using location-based services like Foursquare or media sharing apps like Instagram and YouTube. With this explosion in communications technology, we know that more and more consumers are willing to share more and more information with each other online.

But a new IBM survey of more than 28,000 consumers - the largest global survey of its kind - finds that, overwhelmingly, consumers aren’t only willing to share personal information with each other, but also with their favorite retailers and brands in order to educate them on exactly how, when and where to approach them. Just as we chat with our local shopkeeper, consumers are willing to dish to retailers about their media usage (75 percent); demographics (73 percent); identification, such as name and address (61 percent); lifestyle (59 percent); and location (56 percent) for a more targeted and smarter shopping experience.

Who Consumers Trust Most When Shopping

IBM's ongoing research has shown that retailers must provide clear compelling reasons to shop, deliver personalized offerings and reach shoppers when and where they prefer, in order to win over their wallet share.

The survey also takes an in-depth look at technology usage in shopping, attitudes around economic concerns, who consumers trust most and where they get information during various stages of the shopping process.

According to Gerhard, Gerhard Dumont, IBM South Africa Retail Sector Lead, South African retailers are 3 to 4 years away. Not because they don't understand analytics but rather that their priorities are still fixed on store expansion typical in a developing market. In addition to this - most retailers need to shift their focus to earning and retaining consumer trust ahead of deploying any technology. The IBM Institute of Business Value's Annual Consumer Study points to what Gerhard calls a "new loyalty" - where retailers are loyal to their consumers and not the other way round.

Retailers To ‘Win’ Consumers Over

Smarter Commerce is an IBM initiative launched in 2011 focussed on the supply chain and its intent is to help clients get better visibility into supplier relationships and gain new insights into customer demand to anticipate problems and respond faster to opportunities. Its gaining momentum in the US and UK /Euro markets.

According to IBM, for retailers, it is no longer about catering to the growing use of technology and capitalising on the smarter consumer. But rather their focus is now on winning them over by anticipating their behaviour and engaging with them on their terms. To accomplish this, retailers must:

· Listen and learn – Use analytics to listen to customers, learn from consumer-generated content and adjust based on what you hear

· Anticipate and Adapt – Establish a way to not only identify your top consumer influences, but also use data to anticipate future products and services

· Execute and Excel – Know everything about your consumer – their media preferences, their privacy concerns and preferences, who influences them, their shopping cycle and be able to identify and evolve

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