Retailers in Australia hoping to stay ahead of innovative developments in the retail industry are being encouraging to embrace the ‘commerce anywhere’ trend.

A new study from international computer hardware company Oracle has identified consumers’ increasing demand for more access, knowledge and participation with retail businesses.

As part of the New Retail Democracy report, Oracle surveyed shoppers from around the world about their needs and wants regarding the consumer experience. The survey revealed understanding and empowering the digitally connected consumer could be the single biggest challenge facing retailers in 2014.

The commerce anywhere trend encompasses the consumer’s desire to be able to access the information they need online or in-store at any time. In particular, 93 percent of respondents say knowing instantly whether a product is available is important when shopping. More than half (58 per cent) believe this knowledge is even more important than price.

Additionally, keeping popular items in stock is a crucial factor in retaining customers as 92 per cent admit they will not wait for an unavailable product and 88 per cent say they would rather source the same product elsewhere.

Customer loyalty is closely linked with the ability to keep products available, according to the Oracle report. Almost half (46 per cent) of those surveyed claim they feel more loyal, and 30 per cent admit they are likely to spend more with retailers that share information about availability with them.

The retail research found that consumers often rely on retail assistants to create the connection with important information regarding products and availability. It is therefore important to ensure your employees are empowered with ‘access anywhere’ abilities – such as mobile devices to check availability in-store, online and at other branches.

However, a growing number of consumers believe the introduction of technology and multiple connection points is crucial to their retail experience, with 82 per cent demanding mobile phones, social networking sites and online magazines to complete their shopping journeys.

When creating a multi-point retail experience, it is vital to tailor each interaction with a consumer to their individual needs, interests and purchase history. Almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of respondents highlighted the importance of ‘individual retailing’ to their shopping experience.