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IBM study finds majority of Australian shoppers “apathetic” towards retailers, hungry for multi-channel innovation

Study reveals consumers turning to mobile and social platforms, highlighting need for retailers to blend bricks and mortar with online to thrive

Sydney, Australia - 28 May 2013: An IBM (NYSE: IBM) study of 26,000 consumers from 14 countries -- including almost 2,000 Australians.-- found that over 60% of Australian consumers identify themselves as “apathetic” in their choice of primary retailer – almost double those who see themselves as advocates of a particular retailer. As such Australian retailers have a significant opportunity to capture shopper loyalty, but they need to capitalise on existing investments in multi-channel and accelerate customer engagement across all channels, including mobile devices and social media platforms in order to win in this globally competitive sector.

 “Australian retailers need to captivate consumers’ attention with new concepts across more channels or they risk falling by the wayside in this increasingly borderless and competitive market,” said Ian Wong, Retail Industry Leader – IBM Global Business Services Australia/New Zealand. “The state of retail is in flux between the era of bricks-and-mortar and a blended experience where digital, physical, and automated processes all play an equally significant role. While this rapid transition is a challenge, it presents unprecedented opportunity for retailers to leverage this innovation to connect with and inspire long-lasting customer loyalty.”

Margy Osmond, CEO of Australian National Retailers Association also reflected on the results of this year’s IBM consumer study, “The ability to deliver a seamless shopping experience incorporating physical and online stores will be the difference between survival and success as the gap between online and offline purchasing continues to close. Retailers need to find ways to deliver an innovative shopping experience that leads to brand loyalty and repeat sales, or risk consumers migrating to other brands who are more contemporary and exciting.” 

Based on a study of 1,976 Australian consumers across nine product categories, the Australian results released today highlight that sophisticated shoppers express more fluidity in making purchases across physical and digital channels than ever before. Mobile devices are becoming a central part of the shopping experience, with nearly half of respondents owning a smartphone and more than a quarter owning a tablet device. And although 94 percent of respondents said their most recent non-grocery purchase was in-store, 38 percent said they were unsure whether their next purchase would be in-store or online. Clearly shoppers are open to new channels and devices, and retailers will need to ensure a seamless experience across them all.

 “As high-speed broadband rolls out across Australia, retailers need to factor in how mobile devices and other emerging channels will guide consumers to the point of purchase,” said Wong. “However, shoppers are also on the lookout for experiences which span more than one channel: they’re increasingly seeking a balance between the sensory experience of the high-street store and the ubiquitous convenience of buying online, whether that be through mobile technologies or even more progressive means.”

The study also highlighted an emerging trend amongst Australian consumers towards “showrooming” – where shoppers evaluate merchandise in-store and then make purchases online. Although “showroomers” only accounted for one percent of shoppers in Australia, this trend is more apparent in the US and UK – driving 50 percent of online purchases in studied categories -- and will inevitably grow in Australia as more consumers shop online.

Katharina Kuehn, Director, RDG Insights “A typical home is exposed to around 50,000 brand messages a year. It is not about creating more noise, it is about utilising all the channels in a seamless way to be there for the right consumer, at the right time and in the way the consumer wants it. We see this in the trend of consumers increasingly demanding higher personalisation.”

Personalisation is also a focus for Australian shoppers, with 44 percent expecting retailers to use past purchases to offer promotions and recommendations. However, the study also shows that Australians are less willing to provide retailers with identity and financial information, with the steepest decline being in the number of respondents willing to share their identification information -- going from 52 percent in 2012 to 26 percent in 2013. 

-Ends-


For more information, visit http://bit.ly/IBMconnected

Follow the conversation at #IBMConsumerStudyAU on Twitter

To view the Smarter Consumer Study 2013 infographic, visit http://bit.ly/18onXH7

IBM-Smarter Commerce-Transitioning Shopper-1

Contact(s) information

Sandra McMullan
IBM External Relations
+61-416-049-409
smullan@au1.ibm.com

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