No Shocker – The Web Drives People To Retail

Posted by

We keep having to banging this drum to get traditional Marketers to embrace the power of online. I’m happy to do it (I’ve been doing it since the early nineties). When consumers see or hear about a brand, product or service, they’re going online first. If they’re impressed or want to learn more, they’re heading down to the retail level. This was the dream of the online world back in the day, and it’s becoming more and more of a reality.

Just yesterday, eMarketer published an article titled, Retail Shoppers Hit the Web First.

"Eight out of 10 respondents who had recently made consumer electronics purchases in a brick-and-mortar store said they had visited the store’s Website first, according to a May 2008 Nielsen Online survey. More than one-half said they purchased from the retailer on whose Website they had spent the most time."

Granted, it’s an obvious fit for people online to be looking at consumer electronics, but I would not be surprised to find a similar statistic if we were talking about jewellery, power tools, clothing or hotels.

With more and more choices, consumers – naturally – want to be better informed. Coupling your marketing banter with content like consumer reviews, ratings and more enables your brand to spend more time connecting to potential consumers. What might be most surprising (and even more revealing) from this article is that the Web is even more powerful than word of mouth from a known entity:

"If they had to choose just one method of researching their purchases, 58% of respondents said they would choose the Internet — far more than would choose their own friends and family. "

Only 8% chose friends and family.

It just might be time to re-look at what you’re providing to people online, and what your competitors are doing.


  1. Mitch,
    A personal anecdote to support this … for health drinks. I saw a brand of drinks called “Function” in a grocery store. Their packaging claimed to help clear out my lungs from smog or something.
    I didn’t feel like their packaging explanation on how it works really sold me. Sounded like BS. But when I got back to a computer, I Googled the name and checked out their website.
    Their site had enough credible information to convince me that they had a good product. Next lunch time, I bought one of these drinks.

  2. I definitely agree. I think even if the product is researched online, there’s a good chance it will be bought in store, even if it’s available online. I guess you just want that last sales rep approval of a product before you buy it. I know I did that with camera’s, iPods, phones and other electronic devices.

Comments are closed.