Search: Research Online – Buy Offline

Source: iProspect Post-Holiday Online Shopping Study

Dave’s Comments (Digital Marketing Tutorial Blog): The influence of online search marketing on the purchasing choices of millions of YOUR Customers continues to grow, even though MANY of the subsequent purchases are then made offline. Vexing problem to accurately attribute this type of purchase to online search, but one worth solving so you can allocate your precious marketing dollars where they’ll do the most good!

Executive Summary:
“The iProspect Post-Holiday Online Shopping Study finds that the vast majority of Internet users research products through the use of search engines. This source far outweighs Internet users researching products on shopping-specific search engines. This finding reinforces the need for online merchants to be easily found in the natural and paid search results of general search engines on both branded and non-branded searches. As of now, shopping-specific search engines appear to be considerably less popular with Internet users than general search engines for researching products online.

In addition, the study finds that nearly half of Internet users research products online that they then buy offline. This is a significant finding because very few online merchants have mechanisms in place to accurately measure the offline impact of their online marketing activities/investments – in effect, to link offline sales to online marketing. As a result, most online marketers inadvertently under-report the total ROI (online and offline) generated by their efforts, ceding credit for revenues which they actually produced to the channels through which the sale took place (in store, via catalog, phone, etc.). In effect, online marketers may be under-budgeting their activities my as much as a half due to this phenomenon.

Within some organizations this phenomenon most certainly results in a misallocation of future marketing budget to those channels through which the sale is taking place, when in fact that budget should be dedicated to the channel which is producing the sale. This finding – which spans all product types/verticals – supports the landmark findings of the December, 2004 Overture/comScore study, that showed that 92% of consumer electronics and computer purchases that resulted from online research took place offline.”

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