Study: Internet strategy essential to offline retail

July 27, 2008
Written by Neilsen Online
A Nielsen survey in May 2008 found that among a representative group of people who had recently made consumer electronics purchases in a brick and mortar store, 80 per cent bought from a store whose Web site they visited first. Further, 53 per cent purchased from the retailer on whose Web site they had spent the most time. 
While the benefits of online sales have long been apparent to retailers, the ability of the Internet to drive offline sales is now rising to the fore.  Among consumer electronics purchasers, 58 per cent indicated that if they had only one channel in which to do product research prior to purchase, they would choose the Internet, compared with only 25 per cent that would choose to be able to do research in a brick and mortar store.
“A strong Web presence with broad and deep online content is critical for all retailers, including brick and mortar stores,” said Ken Cassar, vice president, industry insights, Nielsen Online. “Surprisingly enough, the industry that retailers should look to for guidance on multi-channel integration is the media industry, which has embraced the notion of content portability, allowing their consumers to easily  consume content wherever they are with whatever device they prefer. Retailers that are able to facilitate consumers’ multi-channel shopping behaviors will enjoy growth in market share across the enterprise.”

Respondents were asked: If you were only able to use one source of information to support your next consumer electronics purchase, which would you choose?

Table 1: Information Sources ranked by Preference among Consumers

Preferred Information Source
 Percent of Consumers
 Internet  58 per cent
 Visit to local stores
 25 per cent
 Reviews in newspapers/magazines
 8 per cent
 Friends and family
 8 per cent
 Other  1 per cent
(Source: Neilsen Online)

Low Consideration Categories
Even in product categories that involve less research before purchase, the Web plays an important part in the information gathering process. Nielsen’s survey showed that 44 percent of pet food consumers went online to learn more about the product. Safety was top of mind for these consumers, who were most interested in nutritional specifications, product ingredients and recall information in their online research (see Table 2).

Table 2: Top 5 Topics among Consumers Researching Pet Food Online

 Per cent of consumers
 Learn about nutritional specifications
 48 per cent
 Learn about product ingredients
 45 per cent
 Learn about recalls
 45 per cent
 Learn about safety issues
 45 per cent
 Find sales/promotions
 40 per cent
(Source: Neilsen Online)

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