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Cisco study: Immersive in-store shopping experiences attract and engage tech-savvy consumers

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — Retailers need to respond to technology-savvy consumers by creating digitally rich, easy-to-use, technology-based experiences in the store to expand basket size and increase margins, according to the results of a new survey by Cisco. The survey also found that cross-channel shopping behavior is prevalent and desired by most consumers, with nearly 74% of all respondents conducting online research before making in-store purchasing decisions.

“The key for retailers’ survival is to reinvent the store by bringing online content into store and creating engaging, personal, and emotional experiences that encourage shoppers to buy. It’s about capturing shoppers’ “feet and fingertips” right in the store with digital content and experiences,” said Lindsay Parker, global retail industry director, Cisco.

Conducted by Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), the company’s global consultancy, and Cisco’s retail marketing team, the study surveyed 1,000 U.S. and 1,000 U.K. shoppers.

The survey found that digital content can frequently trigger consumers to buy, and that bringing online digital content into the store is especially powerful in influencing buying decisions at the point of sale. Among the results:

  • Nineteen percent of respondents were influenced to make a purchase with digital-inspiration‖ triggers.
  • Thirty percent use online videos to choose the right product or service.
  • Fifty-one percent of U.S. respondents now use or want to use an in-store kiosk for self-service of accessing web-based content.
  • Forty-two percent of U.S. respondents use or are interested in using video screens or video walls within the store to make buying decisions.
  • Forty percent of U.S. respondents use or are interested in using mobile phones for in-store digital content delivery.
  • Thirty-five percent of U.S. respondents indicated current use or interest in using tablets for in-store digital content delivery.

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NRF: Amazon.com tops in customer service

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York City — According to a survey released Tuesday by the NRF Foundation and American Express, Amazon.com has the best customer service among U.S. retailers.

The seventh annual Customers’ Choice survey, conducted by BIGinsight and polling 9,374 shoppers, saw the same group of retailers occupy the Top 10 spots in the poll, with some place-switching.

Behind Amazon.com in the No. 1 spot (Amazon.com ranked second last year) was L.L. Bean in second, Zappos.com in third, Overstock.com in fourth, QVC in fifth, Kohl’s in sixth, Lands’ End in seventh, J.C. Penney in eighth, Newegg in ninth and Nordstrom in tenth place.

Consumers were asked which retailer they thought delivers the best customer service overall.

“Today’s consumer has high expectations when it comes to their shopping experience, whether in-store or online,” said NRF Foundation executive director Kathy Mance. “The top retailers on this list found effective ways to win over shoppers not only with low prices, but also stellar customer service and value-added features such as unique mobile applications, free shipping and unforgettable in-store experiences.”

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Wal-Mart taps former CBS web exec as head of global e-commerce

BY Marianne Wilson

Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores announced that Neil Ashe, 44, is the new president and CEO of the company’s global e-commerce business, effective Jan. 16.

Ashe was most recently president of CBS Interactive, where he led all online properties and also drove development of new ways to distribute programming produced by the media giant and its subsidiaries.

Ashe is replacing Eduardo Castro-Wright, who announced his retirement in September and will assist in the transition.

"E-commerce is a great opportunity for us and we have a long-term vision to win," said Mike Duke, Walmart’s president and CEO. "We are on track to create the next generation of e-commerce, combining the latest in online innovations with physical stores to give our customers a unique and seamless shopping experience."

Duke described Ashe as the “ideal leader” to help the chain build its online business.

“He has led companies through all stages of growth and maturity,” Duke said. “He also has a deep understanding of the interactive space and how to attract and convert online customers. Perhaps most importantly, much of Neil’s professional success has come through close collaboration and shared goals with his peers – a key attribute as we continue to integrate our online businesses across the company and with our physical stores."

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