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Cisco Study Addresses Consumers’ Desire For Self-Service

The majority of worldwide consumers are open to self-service shopping experiences and virtual customer service, according to the Cisco Customer Experience Report released June 2013. The study found that 61% of consumers surveyed would shop at fully automated self-service stores with product vending machines and kiosk stations offering virtual customer service.  

The study of more than 1,500 global consumers across 10 countries emphasized consumers’ growing interest in retail automation:

  • 65% of consumers surveyed welcome retail advice delivered to mobile devices, based on their store location;
  • 57% prefer using in-store touch screens when researching products while in store aisles, while 43% prefer their own mobile phones;
  • 52% prefer self-check-out stations to waiting in lines;
  • 52% would buy a digital device to help track retail purchases and stay on budget; and
  • Almost half (49%) would provide personal information while shopping online in exchange for more personalized service.

The data shows “a growing consumer desire for an omnichannel shopping experience,” said Jon Stine, Director of Retail and Consumer Products Practice for Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), “where the speed and personalization received online is delivered in an increasingly self-service manner in the store.”

The most notable finding was “the growing pursuit by shoppers of self-service, defined not only as check-out but as obtaining information during the decision journey from multiple sources,” said Stine, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Consumers want control of their shopping throughout the journey. We’re seeing an increased importance of providing consumers the ability to research on their own.”

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Stine emphasized three key trends from the study:
1) Growing use of self-service;
2) High value in personalized shopping; and
3) Impact of mobile phones on shopping experiences.

The automated connections that consumers increasingly desire are made possible by the Internet of Everything (IoE), according to a Cisco press release, which “brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before.” An IoE economic analysis conducted by Cisco identified that IoE innovations will create $14.4 trillion in bottom‐line business value by 2023.

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