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Search and offline purchasing

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Wednesday March 22, 2006 )

Results from a new research study underlines the importance of search in influencing offline buying. The report states that of the searchers surveyed who bought an item relevant to their query after their search, 37 percent completed their purchase online and 63% offline.

I find these days that in *any* purchase I make of non-essential household items with a price tag over $50, I tend to hit the engines first, compare prices, specifications and retailers, then purchase offline if I can’t do so online. Gone are the days of hitting the pavement and going from store to store. By the time I get to the mall, I usually know where to get what I want and what price I’m going to pay for it.

The report by Comscore, sponsored by Google, states that 25% of searchers followed through with a purchase after a query – either online or offline. This demonstrates an increasing number of people who shop much like those of us who live and breathe the online world do.

Offline buyer conversion levels were highest (80% +) in categories such as Consumer Electronics, Toys & Hobbies, Video Games and Consoles, and Music/Movies/Videos.

So, for those offline retailers who still don’t think a good online presence is important; it’s food for thought. It’s quite amazing how many still step back from a serious online representation, and it’s not just small business either. I remember only 3 years ago the owner of one of Australia’s largest retail homegoods chains categorically stating that they weren’t going to bother with the web. I notice their web site, which was just a brochure site back then, is now rapidly growing in fresh content :).

By the way, if you’re already thinking ahead to marketing strategy for the next holiday season, the ComScore report also indicates that 60% of all searchers started their holiday shopping search process last year before November 15, 2005. 80 percent of those surveyed felt that search was helpful for purchasing gifts and 60% said they would probably use search on the next occasion they needed to purchase a gift.

Read more of the Search in Influencing Offline Buying report


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