Cisco Retail Survey Shows Demand for ‘Mashop’ Experiences

Research conducted by Cisco Internet Business Solutions (IBSG) and Cisco’s retail marketing team released today speaks of a demand from US and UK consumers for a new way to shop. The surveying team said this must respond to tech savvy consumers, and thus came up with “mashops”. It means “mash up” of the virtual and physical worlds to create a new way to shop.

By mashop-ping, consumers want to get the best from both worlds: the convenience and information driven by the web-based experience, and the tangibility of the products they want to buy.  For retailers, this is a promising way to gain more customers as they give them improved access to product information.

Of course, providing ‘mashop’ experiences entails the employment of new technologies. This includes interactive digital displays, video assistants, social networking technologies and Wi-Fi networks that enable shoppers to remain connected with trusted people and information while they are in the store. The survey, which covered 1000 US and UK consumers, shows that 50% of them will continue to use all forms technology to find the best price that will push down margins.

There are two kinds of technology shoppers: calculation shoppers and extreme shoppers. Calculating shoppers, which comprises 56% of the general population, uses the web to inform their buying decisions. Extreme shoppers on the other hand, which comprises 11 percent of the population but has high representation, uses the Web and smart phones to find the lowest possible price. Extreme shoppers receives the most attention from retailers, but calculating shoppers still curates most of the revenues and margins of retailers.  Some notable stats from the report:

The behavior of shoppers overall is increasingly shaped by technology:
Sixty-three percent use technology to find the lowest price
Forty-seven percent use technology to save time
Twenty-six percent use technology to find the best selection
Twenty-five percent use technology to find the highest-quality product
Sixty percent cite friends and family as the most important source of information for their buying decisions. Significantly, online reviews are more important than in-store employees, traditional media, and social networking.

Calculating shoppers comprises 56% of US consumers and 59% UK consumers. They always use the web to inform buying decision, as well as utilize technologies to help them shop:

The majority prefer to research products online rather than speak with store staff.
One in three use retailers’ Facebook pages and coupon-sharing sites.
One in four use Web-based group buying sites such as Groupon.

As to adaptability to mashing up virtual and physical stores:

-More than 54 percent wanted to try a mashop-type service in the store. The majority of these, 73 percent, preferred access to mashop-type services using a touch screen at the shelf edge.
-Fifty-four percent wanted product and price comparisons, and peer reviews on touch screens in the store.
-Forty-four percent wanted a virtual video adviser with Web content on a large screen or tablet service in the store.

The study was conducted by the Cisco IBSG Retail and Research & Economics Practice.