Our online behaviors certainly influence the retail buying cycle. According to a recent National Retail Federation study, a whopping 93% of respondents spend time online first, including 35% who regularly research and another 58% who occasionally research online before buying in person.
What's surprising is that online media aren't the most important influences in triggering an online shopping search. Well over 40% of respondents individually identified TV, magazines and newspapers as the most important triggers. By contrast, just 28% mentioned e-mail ads and only 25% claimed internet ads of any kind!
Other online communications aren't significant influences either. Only 7% of respondents mention blogs, 9% IM, and 8% online communities as triggers to search online. These sources increase slightly among 18-24 year olds, up to 14% blogs, 22% IM and 21% communities.
After respondents finish searching, communications become more personal. About 69% speak to someone face-to-face. Another 53% send emails, 50% pick up their land-lines and 30% make cell calls.
Once again, online interactions fall short. Just 4% blog, 15% IM and 7% participate in communities. Here you see a pick-up among 18-24 year olds, as 9% blog, 38% IM and 21% use communities. Also some 24% of this age group sends text messages.
So while search dominates the retail discussion, everything else we're doing online hasn't made that kind of singular impact among shoppers yet.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!