The Dawn of the New Consumer

By George L. Koroneos — November 29, 2011

I am the modern consumer. When I go to a retail electronic store to purchase a new piece of stereo equipment, I expect the employee standing in the middle of the sales floor to reasonably be able to answer most of my questions. I’m there to drop a few hundred dollars on a new receiver or speakers, and the last thing I need is a salesperson that doesn’t know what he’s selling. If I ask a simple question like, “How many HDMI ports are on the back of the Denon 2112?” I expect the guy to be able to give me an answer in as little time as possible.

More often than not, the employee tells me to wait while he goes and checks the computer. The terminal is on the opposite side of the store and another customer or two tackles him while he’s on his way there. In the meantime, I’m losing patience and whip out my cell phone to see if I can find the answer on Amazon.com. What do you know? Not only does the unit have seven HDMI ports, but also it costs $120 less and is available with free shipping. I click “Buy It Now,” and I’m out the door, passing the employee on the way out.

A few years ago I wouldn’t have been the typical shopper. I’m tech savvy, cost conscious, and I usually heavily research what I’m buying beforehand. However, retailers are realizing that the connected consumer—the shopper with a smartphone that isn’t afraid to use it—is becoming the norm. Major retailers, such as Lowes, Rite Aid, and Pacific Sunwear are deploying tablets and mobile POS units so that their employees have just as much information at their fingertips as the consumer.

Now it’s up to solution providers to be proactive and suggest new ways for their retail clients—both small and large—to better reach consumers. Digital displays, tablets, smartphone apps, and better inventory management tools are just some of the tools resellers can sell to help improve the consumer experience. VSR delves deep into this new trend in this month’s cover story. It’s time to help your clients become smarter than their customers, and VSR is here to help.

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