A survey by IBM, the No. 2 global computer services company, found consumers use technology, particularly social networks, for more purchases.
Consumers still like to go to the store for the 'touch-feel' experience, IBM researcher Melissa Schaefer told International Business Times. But our survey found that 24 percent use three or more technologies to evaluate products.
IBM released a survey of 28,000 global consumers this week as the National Retail Federation conducted its annual trade show in New York. Besides serving large retailers directly, IBM is one of the largest vendors of equipment for the sector, competing against NCR, Fujitsu, VeriFone and other providers.
Schaefer, the Armonk, N.Y., company's global retail research and strategy leader, told IBTimes the survey found younger consumers were more technology-friendly but 45 percent of all consumers said they were happy to provide information to a trusted retailer.
In return, consumers expect something from a retailer, such as a coupon or special relationship, Schaefer said.
Younger people might be more influenced on purchases by what Facebook or Google+ friends say about a product, Schaefer explained, because they already have a trusted relationship.
The survey found 45 percent of respondents listen to friends and family, which Schaefer said applied to her when it came to buying holiday gifts for her children. The same applies to travel. The Salt Lake City-based IBM executive said she used her own social network to determine she should see the play War Horse while in New York.
IBM, which acquired several business analytics specialists such as Cognos and SPSS since 2007, reviewed more than 1.2 million documents over six months to specifically study sporting good makers and apparel manufacturers.
The same lessons apply for all retailers when it comes to trust, Schaefer said. Once a consumer creates a relationship with a particular store, she doesn't change too often.
It's like doctors; you don't switch all the time, she said.
IBM shares closed at $180, up 84 cents, Tuesday. They are down 2 percent so far this year.