business news in context, analysis with attitude

A new survey sponsored by IBM and released at the National Retail Federation (NRF) convention in New York City suggests that consumers "are diversifying the way they shop for and acquire goods, becoming increasingly open to buying both online and in store depending on their needs at time of purchase. While more than 80 percent of shoppers chose the store to make their last non-grocery purchase, only half are committed to returning there next time they buy.

"IBM’s research finds that consumers are in a transitional state. According to the study, 35 percent are unsure whether they would next shop at a store or online. Nine percent are ready to commit to making future purchases online. Of all eight product categories tracked in the survey, the two most popular categories chosen by consumers for an online shift are consumer electronics and luxury items, including jewelry and designer apparel."

The survey also found that "nearly half of online purchases in studied categories resulted from 'showrooming,' a burgeoning trend in which consumers browse goods at a store, but ultimately buy them online. Significantly, nearly a quarter of these online shoppers intended to buy their item in the store, but ultimately purchased online – primarily due to price and convenience."
KC's View:
The continuing message of this survey, and others, is simple - that virtually every consumer is in play. They will be attracted by shopping experiences that seem to be connected to specific values, including but not exclusively price. They want shopping experiences that are compelling. They care less about format than they do about relevance. Brands are important, but not necessarily a deal-breaker, because they are intrigued by the new.

The old rules no longer apply.