OPERATIONS

Report: Smartphone usage driving shift to more seamless, personal interactions

BY Marianne Wilson

Atlanta — Around the world, consumers want it all, and they want it in the palm of their hand. According to a global study released by First Data, consumers worldwide expect strikingly similar mobile and technology-powered experiences from large and small businesses as well as financial institutions – and their expectations are fueled by skyrocketing smartphone usage.

The goal of First Data’s research is to provide insights into evolving consumer awareness, usage, attitudes and behaviors in traditional in-person and web-based shopping, payments, banking and money management. An online survey was conducted in 10 markets (Brazil, China, Germany, India, Mexico, the Middle East, Poland, Singapore, United Kingdom, and the U.S.) with nearly 4,000 consumers who had a bank account and either a debit or credit card.

The study, which was conducted in 10 markets, including the United States, China, Brazil and the United Kingdom, reveals that consumers seek three consistent, defining features in their experience:

  • seamlessness and control;
  • tailored and personalized experiences; and
  • a direct connection to other consumers and information through social media and shared online content.

In key findings:

  • Globally, more than half of the respondents said they wanted a seamless experience. Consumers in Brazil, China, India and the Middle East are most interested in the concept of seamlessness.
  • Seventy-one percent expect real-time access to their financial accounts (rating this eight, nine or ten on a 10-point scale), allowing them to make decisions wherever they happen to be. In the U.S., 76% indicated interest in real-time access, representing one of the highest levels of expectations among the countries in the study.
  • Nearly half of consumers would stop using a technology immediately if it was not intuitive, easy and straightforward.
  • Nearly half globally want businesses to get better at targeting ads and offers to them.
  • Fifty-eight percent expect their bank to do a better job of considering their individual circumstances.
  • Half of the global consumers surveyed post reviews online. Those numbers climb to 74% in India and 60% in Germany.
  • More than one half consult social media before making a purchase. Eighty percent of Chinese and Indian consumers surveyed did so, the highest among all markets surveyed.
  • Just about one half say they prefer working with companies that are smart about using social media and technology.

“When we talk about evolving consumer expectations, what we’re really talking about is an expectation of higher levels of service and a drive toward simplicity, with the consumer at the center of it all,” said Larry Drury, chief marketing officer for First Data. “Much of this change in expectations is driven by the proliferation of smartphones, which have fundamentally altered how consumers around the world go about their daily lives. Understanding the impact this has on consumer behavior has profound implications for doing business today.”

Further information is available in Executive Summary: First Data 2013 Global Universal Commerce Consumer Tracker Study.

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News

Tocata courts retailers with new mobile platform

BY CSA STAFF

PALO ALTO, Calif. — Tocata, a technology innovator in mobile e-commerce, is launching a front-end mobile platform for retailers which allows them to build immersive, revenue-driving mobile shopping experiences that can be deployed on tablets or smartphones, whether as apps or as HTML5.

“The enduring consumer love affair with tablets and smartphones has forced many retailers to build short-term mobile shopping strategies that fail to drive appreciable revenue,” said Joe Davis, CEO, Tocata. “We’ve built the only platform that gives retailers the tools they need to build, launch and manage mobile as a channel focused on capturing new revenue streams and a more satisfying way of engaging with consumers everywhere.”

The Tocata mobile platform addresses the problem of how to quickly build mobile strategies that leverage broader business investments, reflect consumer shopping behaviors and drive new revenue streams. The Tocata mobile platform integrates seamlessly with brands’ existing e-commerce systems and is designed from the ground up to deliver simplicity and agility. The platform is made up of three major elements, which together provide an integration platform for tying mobile to existing e-commerce systems, an experience studio for building immersive mobile content and a distribution system for launching across mobile devices.

After launch, Tocata’s Data Analytics measure the impact of mobile to the bottom line. Tocata’s analytics capture every touch, pinch or swipe, helping retailers optimize their mobile offering to increase revenue and conversions.

Tocata, formerly called Revel Touch, is based in Palo Alto, Calif. Its clients include Anthropologie, Condé Nast’s Lucky Magazine and Design Within Reach.

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OPERATIONS

OfficeMax seeks incentives to keep HK in Illinois

BY Staff Writer

New York — OfficeMax has asked the state of Illinois for tax breaks to keep the company’s headquarters in-state after its mergerwith Office Depot Inc. is complete, the Associated Press reported.

The CEO of OfficeMax, Ravi Saligram, and state Sen. Tom Cullerton made their pitch Tuesday during a hearing on the state’s pension crisis, the report said.

OfficeMax and Office Depot, which announced plans to merge in February, are still trying to decide where to locate their combined headquarters.

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