A new IBM survey of 2599 Australian consumers reveals that technology is giving shoppers a new source of power, pushing retailers to engage them more directly via personalised promotions and offerings.
The changing economy has given rise to the smarter consumer, one who uses technology to make more informed buying decisions, exchange information with peers, make purchases on-the-go and shop across multiple channels. 
At the same time, the increased use of technology has empowered consumers to become more vocal and demanding about their wants and needs. Not only are consumers becoming more demanding, but they are also more willing to help.
Seventy-six per cent of respondents said they want to work with retailers to co-design new products and services that better meet their personal needs.
The study also revealed that while shoppers are showing increased demand for multiple technology channels, they want to use different technologies for different activities. 
Ninety-two per cent want to use websites to compare prices, while 76 per cent want to use websites to access and print coupons. Additionally, 75 per cent want to use mobile phones to find out where the nearest store is located and 70 per cent want to see what goods are in stock before going into the store.
From a consumer’s perspective, the top areas of improvement for retailers were around delivering customised promotions followed by having knowledgeable staff and store employees willing to help in the shopping process (customer service). The good news is that 54 per cent of respondents said they would spend more with a retailer if they got these two areas right.
“We are in a shopper’s market today, because consumer access to technology and information gives them all the power,” said Ian Wong, ANZ retail industry leader, IBM Global Business Services.
“Retailers cannot afford to sit still as this digital revolution happens. They must engage plugged-in consumers in new and different ways, on their terms, and with more bi-directional feedback and dialogue.”
IBM also ran the survey in other countries, polling a total of 32,000 consumers worldwide. While IBM’s analysis shows that consumers are increasingly ready to use technologies to interact both with retailers and with other consumers, this trend is even more pronounced in growth markets. Consumers in India, China and Brazil are almost twice as willing to use multiple technologies for shopping and making purchases. This is primarily because the uptake of new technologies is often faster in emerging countries.