Tech may change, but shoppers much the same: study

Aegis Media's Sasha Grujicic co-presents the findings of a new Microsoft study indicating that while technology may be reshaping the purchase process, shoppers' instincts remain largely the same.

When it comes to buying products in the new media age, people have remained the same, it’s just their tools that have changed. That was the message Tuesday morning when Microsoft Advertising’s Toronto office held its annual Ad Day.

‘The need state remains fairly constant. It’s the way in which we research and process our purchases that has changed,’ said Sasha Grujicic, SVP, group strategy Aegis Media.

Grujicic and Jacqueline O’Sullivan, head of marketing, Microsoft Advertising, presented the key findings that resulted from ‘The New Shopper Journey,’ a study that investigated the mindset of Canadian shoppers throughout purchase decisions.

The study found that the shoppers still go through the same steps, they simply end in different ways.

In the past, people would visit car dealerships and test-drive eight cars to decide which one to buy. Now, before leaving the house, the bulk of the research is done.

Grujicic pointed out that 26% of the influence on home electronics purchases comes from friends and family. Friends, however, don’t necessarily need to be people the purchaser has ever met. The friends could be from online forums or Twitter.

The other step in the buying journey that has changed radically because of technology is post-purchase. Instead of turning to close friends in real life for validation or to share experiences, people are going onto blogs, forums, Facebook and Twitter, and it’s important for companies to meet them there to address concerns or spread the praise.

The talk that followed, featuring prominent mommy bloggers, including Erica Ehm, editor-in-chief of, personalized those messages.

With consumers using new channels to research and discuss their purchases, it’s imperative for advertisers to be on those channels, and, most of all, to be authentic. ‘It’s emotional,’ Ehm said. ‘You’re building a relationship.’

Digital marketer Robin Hassan added, ‘I’m only trusting brands that are showing a human face. I don’t want a company just talking about their products; I want a person who makes fun of their day, like I do…Your products are being discussed every day on Twitter, and if you’re not monitoring that, you’re missing out.’