IBM Study Shows a Growing Portion of Consumers Embrace Hybrid Shopping

It’s the age-old question advertisers ask themselves: How do I ensure the brand is placed at the right place and right time to successfully engage our target audience throughout the customer journey? Discussing this loaded topic with Retail Refined Host, Melissa Gonzalez, is Karl Haller, partner of the consumer center of competency at IBM.

One major player is initiating an omnichannel business strategy that places the touch points necessary to reach a target audience in their preferred time and place.

A key word for this approach is strategy, and that’s what consumers are seeing today in this newly hybrid world. For instance, according to a 2022 IBM global study across 20,000 consumers, grocery has seen a large behavioral change in the hybrid arena, given it was virtually nonexistent pre-pandemic. Haller explained, “27% primarily buy in a hybrid manner across all [product] categories, but grocery is 20%, and two years ago… you really couldn’t do it outside of test markets.”

Consumers have spoken, and one in four prefer to buy in a hybrid manner, making technology ever more important.

Another factor to enforcing brand placement is, of course, technology. While retailers have already made it easier to shop cross-channel, the next step is to streamline and then eventually personalize the experience. However these goals are reached, it’s apparent that in today’s world, the need to think more holistically is vital.

So, what’s in store for the future? According to Haller, there is quite a bit to be excited about, such as improved technology for employees, AI continuing to improve all other technologies, growth in block chain and extended reality, and more utilization of 5G or edge computing.

For IBM, they’re working on an exciting ‘sandbox’ of a store operating platform called IBM Hybrid Cloud for Retail that will be used as an event streaming and retail data exchange engine that utilizes AI and analytics — and this “bundle of capabilities” can then be delivered to any device.

Which path does Haller think the world will take, futuristic movie-wise between Star Trek, The Matrix, or Minority Report?

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