January 19, 2005
Web-to-Store Shopping Increases
With more than half of U.S. online consumers using broadband Internet access, more shoppers research potential purchases online before visiting a local retailer.
A survey released Jan. 18 by the Dieringer Research Group for ShopLocal.com, a company that directs consumers to local retailers by using high-traffic websites, found two-thirds of online adults engaged in web-to-store shopping during the fourth quarter of 2004, and most do more such research than they did a year ago.
Spending that resulted from such web-to-store activity outpaced direct online spending this holiday season, according to the survey, with about $400 spent at stores and $250 spent online.
Web-to-store shoppers view the Internet as an information tool as well as a direct purchasing channel. Online purchases are not exclusive of store purchases and users engage in both at the same rate, though consumers spend more when they physically visit a store. For every dollar spent online, these shoppers typically spend $1.60 offline.
Most visit trusted sites for information to help them make a store purchase. The top reasons for doing so include saving time, comparison searching for good value, availability of the product in the store, directions to the store and product specifications. A retailer that makes these factors part of its website will likely attract more of the increasing number of visitors who prefer to research online prior to shopping.
Online purchasing is limited by product size, shipping costs, delays and a shopper's desire to support the local economy. Online shoppers are more likely to consult the web when making a local purchase than traditional sources like newspapers, fliers, and other media, according to the survey, which polled 1,101 consumers during late December and early January.
by Michael Thompson