Traditional Retailers Need the Internet

Changes in consumer behavior several years ago created an imperative for businesses large and small to have an online presence. Yet there is still some uncertainty and even skepticism about the precise relationship between the Internet and in-store purchases (despite my consistent rating and raving about it) and the efforts of others like ShopLocal to establish the connection.

Nielsen just released some data that shows again how critical it is for retailers to think about the relationship between the Internet and their stores. It doesn’t get more explicit than this:

A Nielsen survey in May 2008 found that among a representative group of people who had recently made consumer electronics purchases in a brick and mortar store, 80 percent bought from a store whose Web site they visited first. Further, 53 percent purchased from the retailer on whose Web site they had spent the most time.

(my emphasis)

Nielsen asked, “If you were only able to use one source of information to support your next consumer electronics purchase, which would you choose?”

  • Internet – 58%
  • Visit to local stores – 25%
  • Reviews in newspapers/magazines – 8%
  • Friends and family – 8%
  • Other – 1%

This is just one survey but it’s also one more survey that confirms the overwhelming trend: consumers research online and buy offline.


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