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Researching online prior to buying continues to gain among today's online shoppers. More than two thirds of online shoppers in a new survey of 1,000 consumers said that more than 30 percent of their total online shopping time was spent researching products.
For a subset of this group, dubbed, "web informed," by the survey sponsors, online research accounted for more than half of their online shopping time. Called the Web/Store Cross-Channel Shopping Survey, it was released by local shopping search services vendor, Krillion, and The E-Tailing Group. It found that shoppers are looking to the web prior to purchase for such data as product information, buying guides, and reviews of the products they wish to buy.
As the complexity of a product increases, consumers are more likely to research both online and offline, then complete their purchase at a local store, the survey determined. For example, when looking for a consumer electronics product, 57 percent of shoppers surveyed said they'd do their research using a combination of store visits and online investigation before ultimately making the purchase in a store. By contrast, just 48 percent of those shopping for baby gear said they'd follow the same course of action.
Among consumers seeking manufacturer specific data on big ticket products, manufacturers' websites were rated an important destination by 72 percent of those surveyed. Slightly more than half, 54 percent, cited retailer websites, and 50 percent cited comparison shopping engines.
In general, 61 percent of those surveyed rated manufacturer websites as the most essential source for all online product research, versus 35 percent who rated them somewhat essential and four percent who said they were the least essential resource. Retailer sites were deemed a most essential resource by 54 percent of those surveyed, and 53 percent put search engines at the top of their, "essential resource," list.
The information gathering process can begin days or even months before the actual purchase, depending on the product. One fifth of consumers said they went online to research sporting goods one day ahead of purchase, while 40 percent said they went online to research weeks or even months ahead of purchasing a computer.
The survey also revealed that online shoppers have embraced the order online, pickup in store option. More than half of those surveyed said they had purchased a product in this way.
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