The results of an iProspect survey of online consumers [PDF] during the 2005 holiday season released last month show that 47% of respondents who researched a product online then bought that product offline. This a strong argument for bricks and mortor merchants to include a store-finding feature on their web site.
Conversely, 53% of respondents who researched a product online did not follow through by buying online. It would’ve been nice to know why.
These results obviously suggest that merchants should think of ways they can track feet on the floor to determine ROI on their online marketing efforts. It’s a tricky problem because there are no elegant solutions to address it.
The study also found that price comparison sites such as Froogle have yet to really take off. The web sites American Internet users used for researching products they bought, online or off, were:
- The merchant’s site, 63%
- A search engine, 62%
- The manufacturer’s site, 30%
- A shopping search engine or comparison site, 26%
- Other, 14%
This data makes clear that it is crucial that a merchant’s web site have high visibility in the general search engines through either online advertising or through natural search engine marketing so consumers can find the merchant site for their research needs.