Cisco study: CE retailers should market products and services to less tech-informed consumers

New York -- There is a new opportunity for retailers to market beyond the technology savvy and often male consumer pool to a larger group of less technology informed with customer service programs that provide basic device educational training around devices and product bundling to ease the buying experience,  according to a survey by Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG).

The study finds that while the early adopter segment for consumer electronics is comprised largely of young affluent males, the leaders in digital content consumption — including Internet-based video, digital imagery and social media — are women. However, companies that sell consumer technology devices may be are singularly ill-equipped to maximize device sales because their messaging and in-store marketing efforts are skewed to young male early adopters. With females noted as the leaders in digital content consumption, retailers need to rethink their marketing, the report recommends.

In other findings:

  • More than 20% of the industry’s most active users seldom or never buy accessories, and more than 36% of that same group seldom or never buys go-with items. There is a clear correlation between a respondent’s confidence in using advanced device features, and how much they buy at retail.
  • Roughly one-third of today’s most active personal technology users don’t know how to use the products they purchase. They lack confidence in their ability to choose, operate, and connect today’s devices – and that’s even among the early adopters of the latest devices and digital content. Customers simply don't have the knowledge to take full advantage of the devices' capabilities.
  • According to Cisco, retailers can increase revenues by bridging the confidence and knowledge gap with “orchestration” services that include: aggregating all elements required to create a solution for device usage; assembling all the elements to complete a solution; and educating consumers about what’s available, what’s possible and how to put it all together.

The report notes that one of the best examples of orchestration is the Genius Bar found in Apple’s retail stores. Other examples include personal shopping and wardrobe services provided by the likes of Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus; wine and cooking classes offered by upper-end grocers; and virtual kitchen design services tested at select Home Depot  locations. With few exceptions, including Best Buy’s Geek Squad, few CE retailers offer orchestration services, according to the report.

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