Consumers Desperate For More Personalization During Purchase

Consumers are craving more personalized, less siloed shopping experiences and could be convinced to stop “showrooming” and actually make in-store purchases.

Those are some of the more remarkable findings from Microsoft’s latest Consumer Decision Journey Research, which it plans to release Thursday afternoon.

“Consumers are absolutely desperate for more personalization during their purchase journey,” said Natasha Hritzuk, senior director of consumer insights at Microsoft.

“The idea of personalization isn’t new, but [the industry as a whole] is still not delivering on its promise,” Hritzuk told Online Media Daily just hours before she was scheduled to present the findings at an Advertising Week event in New York.

The retail industry is also failing to appreciate consumers’ desire for a more seamless shopping experience, according to Hritzuk. Consumers don’t want to encounter gaps between a brand’s online, mobile, and in-store presence, she said. “The want to operate seamlessly.”

Along with breaking down the barriers between digital and physical-store experiences, retailers can also use ecommerce learnings to increase in-store purchases, according to Hritzuk.

“We need to understand why people showroom,” she said, referring to the increasingly popular consumer practice of testing products in-store, but preferring to buy them online. For one, “It’s easier to buy [products] online,” said Hritzuk. “You can [buy something] online in 3 to 4 minutes compared to the 20 minutes it can take to buy [a product] in stores,” she said. “We need to take that friction free purchase transaction, and [implement] it in stores.”  

For its research, Microsoft explored two different retail pathways: considered (electronics) and habitual (household and personal care purchases). It partnered with Ipsos Media CT and Ipsos OTX to uncover the influencers along the consumer decision journey, as well as the mindset and motivations driving consumers’ retail decisions.

The research partners surveyed 6,000 consumers across five markets, including Brazil, Canada, China, the UK and the U.S.

The study revealed five key stages that consumers go through along the path to purchase -- from “Open to Possibility” to “Experiencing” -- with digital influencers playing critical roles in each stage.
3 comments about "Consumers Desperate For More Personalization During Purchase".
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  1. Bill McCabe from A. Eicoff & Co., September 26, 2013 at 5:07 p.m.

    I am not sure consumers are "desperate" for anything, much less "crave" personalization. Can't say that I have heard that come up in a cocktail party conversation.

  2. Steve Hauser from Avid Marketing Group, September 27, 2013 at 10:28 a.m.

    Shoppers expectations right now maybe ahead of what the technology and the marketers are capable of delivering. The coordination of all the "players" (brand marketers, distributors, retailers and technology) has not integrated to the point of delivering the "possibility" Seamless, integrated journeys are coming, but the promise is still ahead of the reality.

  3. The digital Hobo from TheDigitalHobo.com, September 27, 2013 at 5:01 p.m.

    Agreed with Steve w one caveat -- expectations are ahead of what technology can do with a reasonable level of privacy.

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