Picture these three places: Victoria, BC, Canada, Chicago, IL, USA, and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Pretty different, right? Now imagine trying to run a successful retail business in all three places.

North American retailers that cross borders face a big challenge when it comes to providing the types of customer experiences consumers want — because, basically, people in different places are different. We wondered how path to purchase differs in different parts of the world, so for our 2018 Global Path to Purchase Survey, we asked consumers in all three North American countries, as well as other countries around the world, how they shop and what motivates them to take specific steps on their shopping journey.



2018 Global Shopper Report

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The Path Well-Traveled

Our survey revealed that the majority of shoppers around the world are routinely using multiple channels to engage with their favorite retail brands, often using a combination of channels to make single purchase. For example, 91.4% of shoppers around the world “webroom” (research products online before making purchases in brick-and-mortar stores. We found that the number of consumers who webroom in Canada, Mexico and the USA all exceed 90%, but the reasons they shop or browse online before making in-store purchases differ.

The top two reasons in the USA and Canada are “I can take my time when deciding what to purchase” (approximately 56% in both USA and Canada) and “convenience” (approx. 55% in both countries).  A majority (68.8%) of Mexican consumers also cited the ability to take their time when deciding what to purchase as a motivator for webrooming, but 58.8% also said looking for the best price/taking advantage of in-store deals not available online was a motivator and only 28.9% said they are motivated because it is convenient.

Different Routes to the Same Destination

Our survey also found that consumers in different places are more apt than others to use certain channels. More than 90% of Mexican consumers respond to offers on social media, compared to only about 60% of US and 54% of Canadian consumers.

Also, on average around the globe, 71.6% of consumers shop on smartphones when at home, traveling, or during free time, but this number is much higher (91.6%) in Mexico, but lower in the USA and Canada (68%, 58% respectively). Moreover the motivation for this behavior is different: 56% of Mexican survey respondents said it saves time for other activities compared to only 16.8% of US and 14.4% of Canadian consumers who feel this way.

Recommendations for a Retail Strategy that Covers an Expanse

You know a thorough understanding of what your customers want is key to a retail strategy that helps your business succeed. But if you are considering expanding your business into a new geographic region, it’s important to understand what will resonate best with consumers there. It may not be the same as where you are doing business now.

For example, your website now may be designed to cater to price-conscious shoppers looking for a great deal, but it may turn off shoppers who are frustrated because it’s not designed for easy access to product and inventory information to make a shopping trip go more smoothly. Not understanding consumers in a specific region may also mean you miss opportunities like, perhaps, social selling in Mexico.

The conclusion is simple: Know what your customers are looking for and deliver it. A great place to start to learn about consumer habits and expectations is our 2018 Global Path to Purchase Report.

Download your copy of this free report for insights into global trends as well as how shoppers in different countries differ from the norm.

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