Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

NearbyNow’s New ‘Lucky’ iPhone App

February 2, 2009

picture-3At Internet2Go NearbyNow CEO Scott Dunlap demonstrated the new Lucky Magazine iPhone application that his company supports. The idea is to tie merchandise featured in the magazine to a rich mobile user experience that allows people to browse and find products in local retail stores.

The rest of this post is at LMS

The Evolution of YouTube

January 22, 2009

picture-33TechCrunch reports that Google is going to allow media companies to sell their own ads against their own content distributed via YouTube. The post takes the position that this will help generate greater revenues on the site.

While that’s certainly true, I believe the real ambition of such a program is to encourage more media companies to put their content on the site legally. YouTube has always been about “the head” as well as so-called tail content (user-generated). If there were no “professional content” on the site it would lose value and interest over time. Indeed, Google has watched Hulu’s rise and seen that it must be able to offer more than lip sync videos and children being silly (etc.) — to oversimplify. People are curious and interested in that content of course, but they also want  the higher quality professionally produced content. 

In my mind this move is partly about appeasement, but it’s also about YouTube’s evolution into a more full-blown and complete video service that offers movies and TV shows, as well as other types of premium content (and video downloads). And the migration of YouTube to the living room (via set-top boxes and direct integration into TVs) is consistent with what I believe to be that longer-term strategy. Consider YouTube as a potential substitute for cable TV. While that will likely never happen it’s not entirely far-fetched. 

Another part of YouTube’s long-term strategy may be to simultaneously evolve the site into a broad-based search engine that offers video content instead of text — again in anticipation of “the Internet in the living room.”  It’s already the second biggest search engine in the US after Google itself, in terms of query volume. Along those lines, YouTube is reportedly expanding its e-commerce “click to buy” program. Certainly this is about revenue as well. But again I believe it’s about broadening YouTube’s content and utility.  

YouTube now offers lots of information and videos about products, service businesses/SMBs and other “commercial” content that people generally don’t think about when they’re on YouTube. This is why I’ve argued that 10,000 SMB videos on YouTube doesn’t make lots of difference right now for AT&T or for YouTube. People typically aren’t doing yellow pages searches on YouTube — but one day they may be. They may also be searching for products, product reviews or travel options, etc. That becomes even more compelling if you’re watching YouTube on a TV screen in your living room. 

The move to HD on YouTube also anticipates that day as well.

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Related: The WSJ reports on a collective agency/media company effort to test and optimize online video-ad formats:

The recession is making for some strange ad fellows. Media companies including Microsoft,YahooCBS‘s CBS Interactive and Hulu.com are joining forces to attract more money to the fledgling online-video advertising marketplace by testing ad formats.

The project, dubbed “the Pool,” is the brainchild of Publicis Groupe’s Starcom MediaVest, which buys roughly $16 billion in U.S. ad time and space annually for big advertisers likeProcter & Gamble.

Starcom MediaVest and sister agency VivaKi say they are trying to create standards in the online-video market, which is popular with consumers but hasn’t turned into a serious money maker.

Of course these video formats and interactive ads will all be on “TV” one day as well.

E-Commerce: Just a Few Brands Will Remain

January 21, 2009

A blog post by Compete about Amazon and the competitive impact of its “free shipping” Amazon Prime service got me thinking again.

The top “e-commerce” sites list in the US is already dominated by the online destinations of major retail brands:

  • Wal-Mart
  • Sears
  • BestBuy
  • Target
  • Etc.

This is likely equally true in Europe.

But you say: there are high-profile online only sites such as Zappos, NewEgg, Overstock and others, including and especially Amazon. Many of these sites have considerable loyalty.

I say that’s true but the day of millions of no-name e-tailers being able to compete for online transactions is probably done for the foreseeable future — the victim of a bad economy, consumer loyalty to a few retail brands and the growth “local product inventory infrastructure” (“where can I buy it now/today in my area?”).

Putting aside Travel, which is a different case, product-based retail e-commerce will continue its incremental growth but a diminished universe of “online brands,” such as Amazon or unique sites such as Etsy, will prevail while large numbers of other pure-play e-commerce sites will fail. What remains will largely involve multi-channel efforts by established offline brands.

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Related: Here’s something I hadn’t thought about from Mary-Jo Foley: the CircuitCity liquidation removes one of the principle distribution points for Windows PCs:

(Circuit City was one of the main venues Microsoft was planning to place its “Gurus,” by the way. And the online buying guide still doesn’t address the “kick the tires” aspect of PC shopping I’m wondering about….)

How do you compare PCs these days? Where do you go to evaluate real — not virtual — new Windows machines?

While you can still go to places like BestBuy, Office Depot and several others, CC was a high profile venue for the PC that will very soon be gone.

Topix & Krillion in Local Product Deals Deal

January 14, 2009

News and local community site Topix and Krillion have announced a partnership that shows Krillion partner product inventory data on various Topix pages and in forums. Inventory will be generated from retailers such as Home Depot, Sears, Target , Wal-Mart, among others, that Krillion works with.

The intention is that the ads/inventory presented will be geographically and potentially contextually relevant to the specific areas of the site in which they’re shown. All the data reflect inventory actually in stores in those local markets.

Here’s an example of the way this is presented in the Tech section:

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And in one of the forums (scroll right column):

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Clicking on the product link takes users directly to the retailer’s product page, in this case Sears:

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Although the implementation isn’t great in this particular case (Sears), at the top of the page Search offers “buy online pick up in store”:

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My memory is that Topix and Krillion split part of the CPA revenue that Krillion gets from its partners when an actual transaction occurs. These aren’t “search” ads, there’s more of a  newspaper circular analogy in this particular presentation of the data. However, they should be fairly effective for all involved, given their local-contextual matching.

This is another syndication deal that Krillion has done. Others include Superpages, Yellowpages.com, PriceGrabber/ConsumerReports and a range of others that haven’t been announced.

In addition to Krillion, NearbyNow, Shaptron, Where2GetIt, Channel Intelligence and ShopLocal are all (to varying degrees) bringing local product inventory data quickly online and to mobile devices by extension.

Free Shipping and Online vs. Offline Shopping

January 12, 2009

Research firm, ForeSee Results, which tracks online consumer satisfaction, put out some additional findings from its holiday shopping survey of “more than 9,000 responses collected from December 1, 2008 through December 18, 2008 from shoppers who had visited the Top 40 retail websites at any point within the prior 14 days.” Here’s the part of interest to me:

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According to the data, “when they choose to shop on a retailer’s website instead of in the store, 33% said that the availability of free shipping encouraged them to decide to buy online.”

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In order of preference then:

  1. Convenience
  2. Price
  3. Free shipping 

 . . .  motivated people to buy online vs. in stores. What this means is that free shipping and lower margins will be required for most “e-tailers” to remain competitive. Amazon and trusted retail brands may be the exception.

Putting the Reviews Debate to Rest

January 6, 2009

When reviews first started showing up in the local segment there was a debate about whether they would alienate advertisers and whether they were optional or mandatory from a consumer standpoint. Over the course of the past three years that question has been answered many times: yes they’re mandatory and yes they’re challenging from an advertiser POV (though most SMBs have a positive view of reviews).

Here’s relevant online consumer data that Nielsen put out in December (n=1,000):

  • 81%  of online shoppers have read product or retailer reviews by other customers when doing their holiday shopping this year
  • 71% agree that consumer reviews make them more comfortable that they are buying the right product
  • 63% of online shoppers indicated that it was important to have multiple reviews for each product
  • 14 % looked for reviews from an established source
  • 3%  sought out reviews by people they knew personally

Here are some of the charts (all Nielsen created):

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Note in Table 3 that people are doing price comparisons and inventory checks to the extent they can before visiting the store. And 12% said they ordered online and picked up in store (see Krillion, NearbyNow).

Also, in Table 4 note the role of trust/brand in the decision of which sites to visit (direct navigation). Search followed probably after a generic product search (e.g., “All Clad 14 inch pan”).

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Will Scott pointed out that these are datapoints related to product shopping. Here’s a post that contains a range of data on consumers’ use of reviews in a service business context.

Whither ‘E-Commerce’?

December 30, 2008

This holiday season was very bleak. From the AP yesterday:

The most dramatic pullback in consumer spending in decades could transform the retail landscape, as thousands of stores and whole malls close down. And analysts expect prolonged woes in the industry as the dramatic changes in shopping behavior could linger for another two or three years amid worries about the deteriorating economy and rising layoffs . . .

Holiday sales fell from 2 percent to 4 percent compared to a year ago, according to SpendingPulse, a division of MasterCard Advisors. Excluding gas and car sales, they dropped between 5.5 percent and 8 percent from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24, as key categories from luxury to electronics posted double-digit sales declines. Sales of electronics and appliances fell almost 27 percent, for example.

But just as many traditional retailers may fail or file for bankruptcy protection, large numbers of etailers will also suffer the same fate. When the smoke clears/dust settles/etc., we may have an “e-commerce” landscape dominated by traditional retailers and a few trusted online brands (e.g., Amazon).

Here are ForeSee Results’ holiday consumer satisfaction ratings for etailers (80 is the satisfaction threshold):

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According to ForSee Results:

All 40 websites are rated on a 100-point scale. The study found that a highly satisfied online shopper is 73% more likely to purchase online, 38% more likely to purchase offline, 75% more likely to recommend than is a dissatisfied website shopper . . . The only two e-retailers scoring above 80 on the study’s 100–point scale (generally considered the threshold for excellence by the ACSI) are Amazon and Netflix, both at 84. QVC was a distant third at 79.

Online “shopping” is generally for price comparisons and research. Traditional stores are for buying. People buy online for convenience and not generally for price.

Online only retailers that haven’t established a trusted brand are largely going to disappear.

Online and mobile distribution of local inventory data is also going to eat into e-commerce. In some limited number of cases involving mobile price checks in the store, people will choose to buy online (at Amazon chiefly) when they don’t need a product immediately and there’s a meaningful price break online.

Yellowpages.com Integrates ‘Product Search’

December 18, 2008

picture-86Yellowpages.com has integrated product search and local inventory data through a partnership with Krillion. Idearc/Superpages was actually the first to do this several years ago in a relatively crude implementation (at the time) with ShopLocal. According to the press release out this a.m.:

This holiday season, consumers who use YELLOWPAGES.COM can browse and buy featured products currently in-stock at over 40,000 national retailer locations. This time-saving addition to retailer listings is made possible through a content agreement with Krillion, the product-centric local search engine that connects Web-influenced buyers with in-stock, in- store merchandise.

By presenting consumers with products that are available and on sale at local brick-and-mortar retailers that they’ve searched for, YELLOWPAGES.COM shortens their path to purchase. When selecting the “More Info” profile page for a specific retail location on YELLOWPAGES.COM, bargain hunters are immediately presented with “This Week’s Deals” — a selection of popular products currently in stock at that particular store. Additional “Price Comparison” and “Similar Product” links create an even richer consumer experience. Consumers can use these features to locate what they are looking for and finalize a purchase on the retailer’s website with just a couple of clicks.

 

Products are part of the “local search” equation and this is a welcome addition to Yellowpages.com — soon to be followed by others — however the particular implementation buries the value of Krillion’s data. First you need to search for a retailer (you can’t directly search for a product or product category):

 

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“This week’s deals” is a link on the “more info” line. Click on it and you get a framed version of Krillion’s page:

 

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Click on any of the “see it” buttons and you’re taken to the retailer’s site/product page:

 

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This is a reasonable start and a nice “value add” for Yellowpages.com. But I would hope that the site surfaces “product search” or some other, similar descriptor at a higher level — although I’m sure there are a few challenges in doing this.

Generally YP sites are not used for product search at this point (per comScore/TMP), but there’s an opportunity to get ahead of other categories of sites (e.g., shopping engines) that are developing or integrating this local inventory data right now. YP is deeply associated with local markets; we’ll see if the YP industry can seize that opportunity.

 

YPMobile, Yellowpages.com’s popular mobile app for the iPhone doesn’t feature this information but it probably will at some point.

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Related: AdWeek picks up the KN survey results and delivers some good visibility and positive PR for yellow pages

comScore: ShopLocal, Coupons Top Gainers

December 17, 2008

Today comScore released its Top 50 sites and more shopping related traffic data. Here are two charts that are noteworthy:

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The chart above shows that branded retailer sites are gaining strongly. This is mostly “local” traffic — people looking at products and then largely going into stores to buy. Accordingly the ShopLocal content is generally about deals in local stores (content that appears in newspaper circulars). In addition, the table below shows how, as a category, coupons have become enormously popular in this bad economy. 

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See also: The New Coupon Chic.

comScore: Big Spending on ‘Cyber Monday’

December 3, 2008

Apparently, despite the six-months-too-late “no duh” official pronouncement by economists that we’re in a recession, people are still spending money online.

This is just out from comScore this morning:

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The comScore data reflect a 15% increase in Cyber Monday spending YoY — probably due in large part to publicity and aggressive discounting. But it’s a hopeful sign in a twisted sort of way that maybe the recession won’t be as long lived as some fear.

Cyber Monday Data from Hitwise

December 3, 2008

picture-121How many people hate the term “Cyber Monday”? I know I do.

But here are some interesting data on the day from Hitwise:

  • Among the top 500 Retail Web sites, the percentage of U.S. visits were down 1% on Cyber Monday 2008 compared 2007.
  • U.S visits to Brick and Mortar store Web sites (100 total) were down 4% on Cyber Monday.
  • U.S visits to Online-only Web sites (100 total) were up 5% on on Cyber Monday.
  • U.S visits to the Comparison Shopping Web sites were down 21% on Cyber Monday.
  • U.S visits to the Catalog Web sites were down 4% on Cyber Monday.
  • The top visited Retail Web site on Cyber Monday 2008 were Amazon.com receiving 10.77% of U.S. visits among the top 500 Retail Web sites. Walmart.com was the second most visited with 8.55% of visits followed by Target.com with 4.56%. BestBuy.com was the fourth most visited with 3.81% and Sears.com was fifth with 2.74% of visits.
  • Amazon.com’s traffic increased 21% on Cyber Monday 2008 vs. 2007. Walmart.com’s traffic increased 6%.

And there’s this from ForeSee Results (based on a survey of 250K people shopping online between Friday and yesterday):

Cyber Monday shoppers were less satisfied in 2008 than on the same day last year. In 2008, Cyber Monday customer satisfaction was down almost 1% from 2007 (score of 75.9 in 2008 vs. 76.6 in 2007 on the study’s 100-point scale).

Despite the year-over-year dip in online customer satisfaction on Cyber Monday, satisfaction is actually higher than it was at any point in November, a reversal of the recent trend of satisfaction that is lower on Cyber Monday than in previous weeks. The unusual rise in satisfaction over the holiday weekend and into Cyber Monday can be attributed to e-retailers’ unprecedented ability to live up to the promise of deals and discounts that Cyber Monday shoppers have come to expect. In previous years, dips in customer satisfaction on Cyber Monday have been attributed to strain on systems due to higher volumes and unfamiliarity of new shoppers drawn to the site for the first time by a discount or sale. The rise this year may indicate that e-retail sites are starting to overcome these challenges successfully.

ForeSee Results’ data analysis shows that on e-retail websites with superior satisfaction scores (over 80 on the study’s 100-point scale), customers are significantly more likely to purchase online and offline than are visitors to sites with subpar customer satisfaction (below 70)

ShopLocal Tracks Online-Offline Influence

November 24, 2008

picture-123ShopLocal has great, specific data on online shopping activity and how it correlates with offline purchase behavior. The company is starting to post some of that analysis on the relatively new ShopLocal blog.

An entry that caught my eye was one called When Do In-store Shoppers Use the Web to Plan Their Trips?

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Source: ShopLocal

There’s too much there for me to summarize, except to say that different behaviors occur throughout the week and they vary by product category — but there’s a pattern.

The analysis has actionable implications for advertisers. Fascinating stuff and well worth following.

E-Commerce: Flat as a Pancake

November 21, 2008

While some reports are still (mildly) bullish on e-commerce, its growth has rapidly slowed to a crawl with the bad economy. And as a percentage of overall retail sales it remains flat. We may not see e-commerce crack 5% of US retail for years at this rate:

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Meanwhile, the IAB reported Q3 numbers for online advertising yesterday:

Internet advertising revenues reached almost $5.9 billion for the third quarter of 2008, representing an 11 percent increase over the same period in 2007. While double-digit annual growth continues, the quarter-to-quarter curve remains relatively flat compared to recent past performance. The Q3 2008 figures, published in the IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report, are 2 percent higher than the Q2 2008 results. Set against strong economic headwinds in the U.S. economy, Q3 ’08’s $5.9 billion represents nonetheless the second-highest quarter results ever. For the first nine months of 2008, revenues totaled $17.3 billion, up from $15.2 billion in the same period a year ago and surpassing the record set in the first nine months of 2007 by nearly 14 percent.

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As the local inventory data gets more complete and pushes out into mobile we’ll see digital media being used more and more for research and product location (and deals) information. No name e-commerce sites (vs. retailers or Amazon/eBay) will need to increasingly compete on price to retain business.

Comparison engines are used for price and reviews information and very seldom for buying by consumers.

ShopLocal Powers New Yahoo! Deals Site

November 14, 2008

ShopLocal has a significant and far-reaching partnership with Yahoo! I wrote about it some time ago. One manifestation of that is a new “Circular Central,” featuring coupons, retailer sales and deals of other sorts.

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This takes the ShopLocal-managed retailer content and puts it in one very prominent place on Yahoo! This content is certain to be quite popular this holiday season — what with the bad economy and people looking for deals like never before, and all.

ShopLocal may also replicate this through other sites and partners.

Fast Take on News of the Morning

November 13, 2008

I’m at a mobile marketing event and so don’t have the time this morning to give all these things the necessary treatment. But here are some noteworthy items:

  • Mike Blumenthal has a very interesting post about Google and TeleAtlas’ community data-update strategy and methodology
  • Where2GetIt has been disseminating its store and product inventory locator services across a broad range of partners. Escalate Retail is the latest. In tandem with other developments/announcements from TheFind, NearbyNow and Krillion, this is a segment that is moving very fast.
  • Richard Rosen of FastCall411 wrote an interesting piece in iMedia about his local mobile search experiences and the variable and bad data that he found. He also makes suggestions about how to improve the data.
  • I also recently wrote something for iMedia on why mobile marketing is increasingly important to consider.
  • Clickable reported this week that it found, among the large numbers of SMBs using the company’s search marketing platform: “over 50%  . . . fail to properly track successes, or conversions, resulting in wasted marketing investment and lost opportunity.” Clickable is a very interesting company and platform if you’re unfamiliar with it. (Here’s a very early short post I did on the company.)
  • In the non-local realm, Windows Live gets an update and expands its scope.

Shopping, E-Commerce and Nervous ‘Etailers’

November 11, 2008

Many people argue that in an economic downturn the best thing to do is to market more aggressively. Yet that’s not what most businesses are doing; they’re trying to preserve cash and cut costs. AdAge reports that, according to a recent Shop.org survey online retailers are even tightening budgets:

30% of online retail marketers said they were trimming marketing budgets, while 16% said they were reducing promotional spending. 

Later in the article Deloitte’s annual holiday survey is quoted as reason for optimism among etailers:

Deloitte’s annual holiday survey also presents several compelling reasons to maintain spending online. The category is ranked by consumers as the No. 2 shopping destination this year behind discount department stores. A full 21% of consumers plan to shop primarily or entirely online this season, up from 19% last year. And 24% of total dollars spent this season are expected to be spent online, compared with 22% last year.

The reality is more complex than this line suggests: “A full 21% of consumers plan to shop primarily or entirely online this season, up from 19% last year.”

First, it implies that online and local store shopping are zero-sum or parallel universes. They’re not. The overwhelming majority of consumers will “shop” online, doing product research and checking prices. A tiny minority of them will actually purchase online. Most people, even in this beleaguered shopping season, will go to stores to make purchases.

In general, more people are buying things online — chiefly for reasons of convenience and availability, rather than price. In some cases price is the determining factor that causes someone to buy online. I acknowledge that the piece is about online retailers and so it’s arguably not relevant to the subject of the article to discuss multi-channel issues. The larger point, however, is that the Internet is being used by consumers to determine what to buy in stores. 

Over time, the Internet will support fewer online retailers because the local inventory data will be good enough and widely distributed enough to let people know where they can buy things today. Over at Local Mobile Search I wrote briefly about TheFind’s iPhone application. Increasingly tools like this — that bridge the online and offline worlds — will be common and adopted by consumers. 

Yesterday I spoke at some length with NearbyNow, which has lots of stuff cooking, and is getting lots of requests for its data. (The cadre of product data providers includes Krillion, ShopLocal, Shopatron, Where2GetIt, Channel Intelligence.) As I’ve tried to argue many many times, product search/shopping should be considered part of local because of where people spend their money: locally. That hasn’t been visible to most involved parties because of the challenges of tracking people from the Internet to the POS. However all that is getting easier. (Every NearbyNow in-store pickup includes a unique code that confirms the person showed up and bought the item.)

I’m astounded in fact by the sophistication of NearbyNow’s marketing on behalf of its retailers. It’s now doing time-based mobile marketing for retailers in the email and SMS messages that confirm availability of products to consumers. These offers/messages have very high response rates according to CEO Scott Dunlap. 

Meanwhile, pure e-commerce is sputtering:

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And while shopping traffic is down overall because people are spending less money, online “shopping” (research, price comparisons) will continue to be relatively strong because consumers want more information before buying. 

The irony is that mobile may be a driver of e-commerce in the future in the following scenarios

I’m in the store, I confirm I want product X, I check prices on my iPhone or other mobile device and buy through Amazon or other trusted online retailer. Alternatively if the item isn’t in stock at that moment and I can’t find it nearby I might buy it online while I’m in the store. 

This is the increasingly complex and “multi-channel” nature of shopping, but it’s still overwhelmingly about the store. In my mind this does argue for continued online marketing because that’s increasingly where consumers are doing their research — even if they don’t wind up buying online.

Really the only option for the no-name, unbranded (i.e., not Amazon, Zappos, etc.) e-commerce companies is deep discounting with no shipping fees. I agree, they have every reason to be nervous.

ShopLocal Starts a Blog

October 31, 2008

ShopLocal, now wholly owned by Gannett and combining some of its operations with PointRoll, has launched a blog. It promises to track retail and shopping trends and should be pretty interesting to read going into this touch-and-go holiday season.

ShopLocal is posting some of their data — they’ve got great data — on the blog:

Meanwhile comScore reported this morning that Q3 e-commerce slowed way down: 

Online spending grew  6 percent  in Q3 2008 versus the same period last year, a slowdown compared to the year-over-year growth rates of 12 percent in Q1 and 13 percent in Q2 2008. Total U.S. online retail sales (excluding travel) were approximately $30 billion in Q3.  

Source: comScore (10/08)

Even though e-commerce has slowed way down that doesn’t mean that Internet usage around product purchases will equally slow down. In fact, people will be looking for bargains online. An interesting wild card will be mobile and how much mobile shopping applications or shopping sites will be accessed on the go this holiday season.

Google Bringing More Display to Search

October 23, 2008

Leveraging its dominance in search, with an ambition to crack display, Google is bringing more graphical ads into search results. Google has done this in the past with video and they’re doing this now (as an experiment) in image search results.

Google has also put movie trailers in top search results behind a plus box (couldn’t find you an example).

Barry at SEL noticed that a search for Bluenile (the online jewelry store) now features a plus box with product images. 

 

Google also does this with map results and local advertisers:

It makes sense for Google to do this on multiple levels. Search IS a branding vehicle and the content that can be placed behind the plus box is often valuable. The “genius” of the system is that it doesn’t place obtrusive display ads in front of users, they need to “opt-in” by clicking the plus box before seeing the graphical content.

This is one future for “performance display” advertising, which is normally thought of as CPC-based display. Yahoo has similarly experimented with bringing display advertising into search results.

Krillion Product Locator for OEM Sites

October 7, 2008

Manufacturer websites are extremely popular among consumers as one point of information in the product research cycle. And the store or dealer locator is one of the most popular features on OEMs. Companies such as Where2GetIt and Shopatron are trying to leverage that consumer traffic on OEM sites to direct consumers to places where they can find local inventory. 

For its part, Krillion has just introduced a new offering for manufacturers called the Krillion Product Locator. According to the release that went out this morning the service offers consumers the ability to locate very similar products by the same maker if the desired product is currently out of stock at a local retailer:

Krillion’s “intelligent sales agent” automatically searches for other, locally available products whose attributes closely match those sought by the shopper. A rules-based approach is used so that similar products of the same or higher value are suggested. The system can also take into consideration new products that replace current models, and can offer a substitute for models not yet available at retailers. In all cases, only products that are known to be in stock with local retailers are displayed, ensuring that the shopper is never presented with a “this product is not in stock locally” dead-end situation that leads to website abandonment.

More on Research Online, Buy Offline

September 29, 2008

Nielsen put out consumer research in May that showed 80% of consumer electronics purchasers bought from a store whose Web site they visited first. Here are some additional data from that survey in graphical form (click to enlarge) involving “high consideration” purchases.

The question is: “Why did you make your most recent purchase in a local store rather than online?”

Source: Nielsen, May 2008

The chart below offers somewhat more nuanced data from Krillion and the e-tailing Group on the same general issue:

Source: Source: Web/Store Cross-channel Shopping Study, Krillion & e-tailing group, February 2008

As I’ve tried to argue, there’s often an offline stimulus that precedes Internet research (which then drives offline sales). That stimulus is often traditional media:

Source: Source: Web/Store Cross-channel Shopping Study, Krillion & e-tailing group, February 2008

And here’s the convoluted world of consumer product research online in terms of popularity of the various online sites and resources (according to the Krillion-e-taling study):

  1. Visit the manufacturer’s website
  2. Go to one of my favorite retailers online to learn more about what they have to offer and their prices
  3. Go to a comparison shopping engine to check out prices of the products in which I’m interested
  4. Conduct a search online and look at a handful of search listings found
  5. Visit a store or several stores to preview the product and then go online to learn more
  6. Go to a search engine that has brands I’m looking for and local information about availability and pricing

According to that same study there are gender differences in attitudes and behavior:

  • Women are more traditional, favoring word-of-mouth, catalogs, magazines & newspapers
  • Men are more Web-centric, embracing online promotions, banner ads and email

While consumer behavior is becoming more complex and e-commerce continues to grow (albeit at a slower pace) here’s the typical consumer behavior pattern:


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