Saturday, May 19, 2007

Online research... creates offline sales

More proof that if you as a retailer AREN'T making a seamless offline/online experience the core of your growth strategy (including budgeting, staffing, product strategy, etc.) you should be by now.

This article in BrandWeek sums up the latest Forrester Research on the subject. Tamara Mendelsohn, a Senior Analyst with Forrester said that 51% of consumers are researching all of their purchases online prior to buying offline. That's a HUGE amount... and according to reports... this is an average across all verticals.

What does that mean? A couple of things: First, sharpening search strategy is even more important than ever. Next, you MUST have a web-to-store, store-to-web integrated strategy at LEAST on the drawing boards... if not implemented. Systems and processes need to be able to support this trend (which by the way the report cites as continuing to increase) and you are leaving more than enough money on the table at this point to justify the cost. Finally... the last traces of doubt about an ecommerce site and strategy should be gone from your organization. This is as important as operating your stores... it is VITAL to your overall success as a retailer in the US, and even more so abroad.


Idris said...
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Idris said...

This comment might be out of discussion but i'd like to say. It is true that potential customers usually search for product information before buying online or offline. The typical buyer behavior process takes place even in the online world. creating a web store requires right product strategy with blend of marketing mix.

Most of the Users do product research through search engine and Comparison shopping sites. It is imperative for an online retailer to have a web store optimize for both traditional search engine and comparison engine. What is your take on this?

onlineretailguy said...

I have some in depth knowledge of the search industry so what I'm about to say is a bit biased. However, I think that comparison shopping at the "comparision shopping destinations" is overated in a lot of ways, and I think that you're starting to see this prove true. Think the way the progressive insurance shows quotes from other providers? O.P.E.N Brands will embrace this strategy going forward... why pay someone else to do this for you and take the experience out of your own hands?

Search advertising, is still relevant as is SEO strategy, but the point I was making is that no amount of traffic driving is important as drving someone to a "non-seamless" experience. Having built one of these from the ground up I can tell you that you want to nail THAT part first before you drive more traffic and increase other acquisition activities.