According to the study, 60 percent of respondents said it's important to be able to check if an item is in stock before they visit a retailer's physical location. What's more, 46 percent said it's important that employees can use mobile devices to fix out-of-stock issues. In other words, if the item isn't in that particular store, the sales associate should be able to fulfill their order from the Web or another location. That's up six points from last year.
"As consumer expectations for product fulfillment are shaped by online shopping experiences, out-of-stock situations are becoming less acceptable," the report said.
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IBM's study comes a few days after comScore said that shoppers spent a record $53.3 billion on desktop computers over the holidays, a 15 percent increase over the prior year. Furthermore, the firm expects mobile sales will add 1 to 2 percentage points to this growth rate.
IBM drew its results from four years of survey data from more than 110,000 consumers in 19 countries. The company markets its technology for use in the retail industry.