Shoppers Want Mashops
From Jan 2011 | By Susan Reda |
What’s a Mashop, you ask? It’s a shopping experience that combines the best of the physical and virtual worlds in one -- allowing shoppers to receive the information and convenience of a web-based experience while at the same time being able to touch, feel and see products they want to buy.
What does that mean for retailers? Well, if they get it right, mashops have the potential to preserve margins and increase sales through conversions at the shelf edge as customers gain more access to product information, and through more cross-channel sales.
It also means that if retailers are serious about developing the mashop concept, they’re going to need to be aggressive about introducing new technologies such as interactive digital displays, video assistants, social networking technologies and Wi-Fi networks. All are technologies that enable shoppers to remain connected with trusted people and information while they are in the store.
These are just some of the findings of a consumer study conducted by Cisco of more than 1,000 shoppers from the U.S. and the U.K. The study, released earlier this month, reveals that accelerating use of technology by consumers is shaping their behavior and expectations.
The research identifies two distinct groups of technology-savvy shoppers: calculating shoppers and extreme shoppers. Calculating shoppers (believed to account for some 56 percent of the general population) use the web to inform their buying decisions. Extreme shoppers (about 11 percent of the population) use the web and smartphones to find the lowest possible price. Extreme shoppers, who tend to be younger, Gen Y types, garner more than their share of media attention -- yet it’s the calculating shoppers that researchers feel can have the greatest impact on retailers’ revenues and margins.
The findings suggest that by creating mashops retailers can encourage shoppers to upgrade their purchases and increase their shopping cart size when factors other than price influence their buying decisions. It also maintains that retailers that fail to embrace mashop experiences will be more susceptible to commoditization. Specifically, the research reveals:
▪ 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 touchscreen at the shelf edge.
▪ Fifty-four percent wanted product and price comparisons, and peer reviews on touchscreens in the store.
▪ Forty-four percent wanted a virtual video adviser with web content on a large screen or tablet service in the store.