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IBM Survey: Tech-Savvy Shoppers Setting The Pace For The Future; Retailers Must Follow Their Lead


New Competency Center to push industry adoption of smarter merchandising and analytics solutions

NEW YORK; - A new IBM (NYSE: IBM) global survey of over 32,000 consumers reveals that technology is giving shoppers a new source of power -- pushing retailers to engage them more directly via increased use of personalized promotions and offerings.

The changing economy has given rise to the smarter consumer– one who uses technology to make more informed buying decisions, exchange information with peers, make purchases on-the-go and shop across multiple channels. At the same time, the increased use of technology has empowered consumers to become more vocal and demanding about their wants and needs. Not only are consumers becoming more demanding, but they are also more willing to help. 79 percent of respondents said they want to work with retailers to co-design new products and services that better meet their personal needs.

The study also revealed that while shoppers are showing increased demand for multiple technology channels, they want to use different technologies for different activities.

· 79 percent want to use websites to access and print coupons

· 75 percent want to use mobile phones to find out where the nearest store is located

· 66 percent want to see what goods are in stock before going into the store.

From the consumers’ eyes, the top areas of improvement for retailers were around delivering customized promotions and ensuring product availability. The good news is that 61 percent of respondents said they would spend more with a retailer if they got these two areas right.

To help retailers address these operational mandates, IBM is today launching a new Center of Competency (CoC) for Retail that will provide deep industry expertise in the areas of business analytics, customer insights and merchandising. By bringing together top talent and technology assets from across the company and around the world, IBM’s new center will help retailers make the best use of technology to streamline costs, reduce inefficiencies, aid product development and speed go-to-market activities, while also helping retailers build new capabilities to better understand, track and respond to consumer preferences.

“We are in a shopper’s market today, because consumer access to technology and information gives them all the power,” said Jill Puleri, IBM Global Industry Retail Executive, IBM Global Business Services. “Retailers cannot afford to sit still as this digital revolution happens. They must engage plugged-in consumers in new and different ways, on their terms, and with more bi-directional feedback and dialogue.”

While IBM’s analysis shows that consumers are increasingly ready to use technologies to interact both with retailers and with other consumers, this trend is even more pronounced in growth markets. Consumers in India, China and Brazil, are almost twice as willing to use multiple technologies for shopping and making purchases. This is primarily because the uptake of new technologies is often faster in emerging countries.

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