Your Business Online | Professional Jeweler

August 15, 2001
The Advantage of Bricks
Bricks-and-mortar retailers have a concrete advantage

There's good news for bricks-and-mortar retailers who sell online. Recent studies found consumers trust traditional retailers more than Internet-only retailers.

Thanks to strong name recognition and loyal customer bases, bricks-and-mortar retailers are able to convert store shoppers into online shoppers and attract new customers to their online stores. Nielson/NetRatings and Harris Interactive reported bricks-and-mortar retailers Wal-Mart, JCPenney, Kmart, Target and Sears captured the top five places among Internet mass retailers. Plus, the study found increased online shopping results in more offline spending – another bonus for bricks-and-mortar retailers.

In a different study, Jupiter Media Metrix found that as customers spend more time online, they tend to visit traditional retailers' sites more. In addition, shoppers feel more comfortable storing personal information on traditional retailers' sites, and consumers have been spending more time at retail sites overall. Jupiter reports the total time spent at all retail sites in July increased 6.4% since February.

Though Internet users are spending more time at retail sites, online spending is down. Forrester Research reported online spending fell to $3.2 billion in June from $3.9 billion in May. Online shoppers spent an average of $245 per person online in June, a decrease of $20 from May.

Internet usage overall, however, is up. Neilson/NetRatings reported 58% of U.S. households, nearly 102 million households, are online. In July, Internet users spent an average of 10 hours and 19 minutes online, up 7% from a year earlier. The growth in Internet use, Neilson/NetRatings reports, is driven by late adopters and more aggressive use from the enormous Internet population.

- by Julia M. Duncan