Digital Trends: Brands must innovate online and off to attract shoppers looking for new retail experiences

Nearly half of UK shoppers (49%) are more likely to buy from a brand that allows them to touch, feel and experience the products whether in a store or online*.

As technology progresses, some 37% are interested in more opportunities for multi-sensory experiences, according to the latest study into Digital Trends from Microsoft.

Insights from the study show this desire for new experiences is an excellent opportunity for retail, technology, entertainment and fashion brands to appeal to consumers with new multi-sensory initiatives.

Now technology has the potential to engage all of an individual’s senses and bring the digital world to life, brands can take advantage of the fact that High-Definition, sound, scent and touch-screen technology can take shoppers beyond flat touchscreens and 2D/3D TVs.

However, Microsoft’s principle researcher, Bill Buxton, stresses that the goal isn’t necessarily to create amazing devices, but to create amazing experiences that are a natural extension of the user.

This trend for shoppers to drive new digital experiences – Enhancing The Real – is one of eight key digital trends that Microsoft has identified as it maps changing and emerging consumer behaviour and attitudes globally toward brands and advertising.

Brand Republic will be publishing the insights behind these eight trends over the next four weeks.

Other insights and recommendations for retail brands include:

  • To plan for the future, brands can learn lessons from past projects. Many of the gadgets released over the past decade, for example, were built on fundamental scientific principles and breakthroughs made as long as 50 years ago.

  • If the goal isn’t necessarily to create amazing devices, but to create amazing experiences that are a natural extension of the user, as Buxton says, one way of achieving this is to think about how you can effectively make the device, and in some cases the touch-screen, vanish into the background.

* From around 1,000 respondents

Microsoft Advertising has joined forces with Brand Republic at to share the findings of its research insights into the future of digital behaviour and technology with brands and agencies. The first study is called Digital Trends and was conducted with IPG Mediabrands and The Future Laboratory. Visit to find out more on emerging digital consumer trends among early adopters as well as regular and heavy Internet users. The study examined awareness and engagement with trends, and evaluated behaviour and attitudes toward technology.

Follow the debate about these findings on Twitter at @MSAdvertisingUK and use the hashtag #MSFTinsight to join in.