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A.T. Kearney study explores motivators of consumers’ online behavior

BY CSA STAFF

ChicagoThe growing importance of the multichannel shopping experience is highlighted in a new study by A.T. Kearney. The report, "Connected Consumers Are Not Created Equal: A Global Perspective," is focused on better understanding today's connected consumers.

According to the study, the vast majority (90%) of purchases today are made in physical stores, and of people who buy 'online,' 50% of the sales go through online sites run by retailers with physical stores. For those consumers that buy something exclusively online, chances are (67%) of them will go to a physical store to discover, test, taste or get their friends to weigh in on the decision.

For those consumers that buy something exclusively online, chances are (67%) these consumers will go to a physical store to discover, test, taste or get their friends to weigh in on the decision.

“The key point is that the debate should not be a question of digital vs. physical,” said Mike Moriarty, A.T. Kearney partner and study co-author. “Successful retailers understand how each customer touch point adds value in the eyes of customers, and they develop omnichannel strategies that maximize customer satisfaction and profitability."

When asked what products they shop for online, respondents identify a wide array of items, indicating e-commerce's evolution and its geographical differences. Clothing, electronics, books, music, and services rate highly, but bigger-ticket items such as home appliances and furnishings also rate high.

The research found that there are four important motivations for connected consumers across the globe:

Interpersonal connection – 73% of participants said that connecting with other people is a key motivation for going online.

Exploration – Globally, 95% of respondents agree that the need to find and learn new things is a primary motivator for going online.

Self-expression – Sharing opinions with others through the Internet is particularly strong in emerging markets and places where offline self-expression is limited.

Convenience – Means different things—for some it is sports and movies, for others it is home delivery

Forty-six percent of respondents say social networks are the biggest draw for their time online, but there are big differences. In Brazil, Nigeria, India, and Russia people spend more time on social networks than any other activity; in the United States, Germany, and Japan social networks are not a main focus of online activity.

"The need for connection, self-expression, exploration, and convenience has changed the roles that brands and retailers play, noted Hana Ben-Shabat, A.T. Kearney partner and co-author of the study. “To be successful, brands and retailers must address these needs by building communities, entertaining, and educating consumers and maintaining an ongoing dialogue."

In mature markets, only a few consumers say that they respond to banner ads or pop-ups (in the U.S. only 7% say they click on banners or advertisements). However, a high percentage of consumers in South Africa, Brazil, India, China and Nigeria are open to online ads and are willing to check out the offers behind them.

The influence of social media on consumption varies dramatically by country and by age. Between two-thirds and three-quarters of connected consumers in the US, UK, Germany, and Japan say they rarely or never consider social media chatter when thinking about products, services, or brands to buy.

However, the majority of consumers in China, India, South Africa, Brazil, and Nigeria will use social network feedback in shopping. Chinese consumers value social media commentary: almost 95% say they occasionally or frequently use social networks to evaluate products, services, or brands.

Click here to read the full report: "Connected Consumers Are Not Created Equal: A Global Perspective"

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Birchbox launches in Canada

BY Marianne Wilson

New YorkOnline beauty retailer Birchbox is launching in Canada, marking the sixth country the company has expanded to since launching in the United States in Sept. 2010.

Since our launch in 2010, we’ve had tens of thousands of customer inquiries regarding shipping to Canada,” says Birchbox co-Founder and co-CEO Katia Beauchamp. “So we’re thrilled to finally bring Birchbox north of the border.”

Birchbox boxes in Canada will officially be open for purchase on Nov. 12, with the first Canadian Birchboxes shipping in December. Birchbox subscriptions for women cost $14.95 per month or $159.40 per year including shipping and taxes.

As the newest members of Birchbox’s 800,000-plus subscriber base, Canadian consumers will now have the opportunity to try, learn about and buy premium beauty products previously unavailable in Canada. The international growth will allow Canadian beauty brands to expand both nationwide and internationally to enable customers to experience products not previously available in the U.S.

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Lowe’s provides omnichannel fulfillment with JDA-IBM solution

BY Dan Berthiaume

Mooresville, N.C. –- Lowe’s Companies Inc. is among the first users of an omnichannel fulfillment solution that is being jointly developed by JDA Software Group Inc. and IBM. The new initiative from the two technology providers will combine JDA intelligent fulfillment and labor productivity solutions with IBM Commerce and order management technology.

The combined solution will enable an omnichannel and transparent supply chain by synchronizing comprehensive order capture and order management with precision retail planning, efficient labor productivity and intelligent fulfillment. By applying knowledge of the retailer’s inventory planning and allocation during order processing, the combined solutiions will resolve issues such as in-store pickup of online orders and fulfilling orders from alternate store locations in the background, in real time.

Solutions will reveal the true cost of fulfilling an order, including inventory and labor costs. Delivered either on premise or in the cloud via the IBM subsidiary SoftLayer, the solution will be part of IBM’s existing portfolio of SaaS applications and is expected to be generally available by late spring 2015.

“By partnering to deliver this joint offering, JDA and IBM are enabling Lowe’s to deliver exceptional omnichannel fulfillment services, which gives our customers more flexible options to shop with us,” said Robin Bornkamp, Lowe’s VP of inventory & demand planning.

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