Online Content Discovery Heightens Traditional Shopping

by , Nov 15, 2012, 10:00 AM
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Online marketers may joke that Best Buy and other big-box retailers have become the local showroom for Amazon, Zappos and other online-only etailers, but studies released Thursday suggest that online and offline content could have a greater influence to bring consumers into stores.

It turns out that 89% of consumers will search on sites like Amazon and eBay to find their holiday gift for less, and 52% of shoppers will not make an in-store purchase this holiday season if retailers do not match competitors' prices, according to SteelHouse's holiday consumer survey.

Some 64% of shoppers will read product reviews and recommendations before making a purchase, but 51% of shoppers will not use their mobile device or tablet to browse or purchase gifts this holiday season.

The study finds that 44% of shoppers have purchased a product or service they have seen recommended or shared on a social media site. Of these consumers, 85% said they saw the item they purchased on Facebook, followed by Twitter at 23% and Pinterest at 16%. About 89% of shoppers will search online to find the best prices.

When looking for gifts this holiday season, consumers also will turn to research, with 64% reading product reviews and recommendations, 59% searching for discounts send via mail and email, 27% social media sites; and 23% will look through holiday gift-giving guides.

About 37% of consumers said free shipping is the top offer from retailers they're looking for this year, followed by some sort of percentage off the retail price, and buy one, get one free.

What will shoppers look for on Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Seventy percent will look for electronics; 30% for home goods; and 14% for jewelry, according to the Steelhouse survey.

Consumers will search for products online at sites like Google Shopping, comparing and sharing recommendations before going into stores to make purchases. BIA/Kelsey estimates local search will grow faster than the overall search market, growing at a 12.1% compounded annual growth rate, from $5.7 billion in 2011 to $10.2 billion in 2016.

BIA/Kelsey forecasts ad revenue for the online/interactive/digital segment of the U.S. local media market to grow from $21.2 billion in 2011 to $38.1 billion in 2016.

For consumers willing to make purchases online, content supports the discovery of unknown brands and products. A study from nRelate, an Ask.com company, conducted by Harris Interactive found that Americans want to explore contextual information. Some 92% of U.S. adults read content online, spending more than seven hours per week looking for content. Americans read three to four articles per session and watch two to three videos per session, on average. Nearly half of online consumers say that after reading an article, they are more likely to click on related content.

The nRelate study suggests that several factors influence an online consumer's decision to click. About 62% first look for traditional news stories versus images, videos, blog posts, or any other type of related content. For example, 34% said they would likely click on a link to another article, compared with 34% on another type of related content.

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