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.
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.