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Televised shopping shows and infomercials remain powerful ways to interest consumers in buying. But the final purchase is more likely to be completed on the web or in a store, according to a new study by Forrester Research.
Specifically, 16 percent of consumers surveyed said they called in an order in the past year after watching a home shopping show or extended product commercial, or infomercial. But 36 percent said the TV show prompted them to go to a web portal; 40 percent to the advertised website; 44 percent to a physical store and 58 percent to a search engine. Respondents could select more than one answer.
"Those results show television still works," said Lisa Bradner, a senior analyst at Forrester and author of the study, "Mapping the Path to Purchase." "People are actively, aggressively seeking out information on the basis of seeing that TV spot," Bradner said during the Electronic Retailing Association's 2008 eRetailer Summit in Miami. ERA, a trade group for direct response marketers, sponsored the study.
Of those consumers who went to web portals, 82 percent said they wanted to compare prices, and 61 percent said they were seeking more information. "People leave the TV spots wanting more information," Bradner said. More than half of those who went to portals ultimately purchased the product, the survey showed.
Among those who went to search engines, 84 percent said the engine helped them find more information. But 34 percent said they went to a search engine because they could not remember the URL of the retailer. "Search engines are a great memory jogger," Bradner noted.
A broad majority, (87 percent) of those who went from the TV to the product manufacturer's website said they wanted more information, and 57 percent wanted to find out if they could purchase in a brick and mortar store. Nearly 60 percent of these consumers said they ultimately purchased the product, although not necessarily from the manufacturer's site.
Nearly half said they purchased at the company's website after completing their online research; 38 percent purchased from a store; 31 percent came back later to purchase at the company's website; 22 percent bought from a shopping portal or other website; 20 percent called the toll free number to purchase after visiting the company's site, and seven percent said they made the purchase by phone at a later date.
"It can be a very long path to purchase," Bradner said, summarizing the results. She encouraged direct marketers to complement their televised promotions with rich websites that provide the information consumers want. "As consumers move more online, making sure the information you provide online is complete and connects with them emotionally becomes more important," Bradner concluded. "Fewer people are going to sit through that 30 minute show."
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