Searching Online, Buying Offline?

It’s arguably the premise of local search, and a comScore study with Yahoo gives some interesting insight to the “search online, buy offline” behavior. They examined five major retailers, including JC Penney, national department and apparel stores, and a major office supplies outlet.

They have some very compelling points regarding these type of consumers being more engaged, and how they spend more incrementally than if they made a purchase online.

The study focuses more on products than services, but the concept can apply to both. If you’re looking for a lawn mower, you might be doing quite a bit of research before you decide on a local dealer. If you’re looking for a quick and easy haircut, you might just be searching online for the nearest location.

As a consumer, there have been countless times when searching online and purchasing offline has benefited myself (and the local businesses I’ve visited because of it) for the same points explained in the comScore/Yahoo study.

Let’s turn this to you. Do you research products or local services online before you purchase offline, and how much do you research beforehand?

Post also up at Search Engine Guide.

A couple notes…

Aaron, aren’t ya’ glad I didn’t make you click? 😉

Rashmi, ya’ happy now? 😉 Posting has been light as of late, but hopefully should change soon.

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2 Responses to Searching Online, Buying Offline?

  1. aaron says:

    I guess I have to find something new to complain about. 😦

    I just did a training with our online sales staff about this topic. I read a few reports that 20% – 30% of all brick and mortar retail sales started online. Other industries are higher as over 80% of real estate purchases/searches start online. It’s all about research, gathering other opinions and comparison.

    I personally research just about anything over $50 online, from product to dining to travel. I probably spent about 40 hours online researching and comparing my plasma TV purchase last year … I probably could have published my findings into a small book. Amazing, great topic Paul.

  2. Paul says:

    Aaron, with a new plasma I’m thinking you should host an Internet marketing get-together… say sometime around a big Vikings game 🙂

    I’m probably with you on the 50 dollar mark, with probably too much time looking for hotels online if I travel. Don’t know why actually… give me a bed, shower and wifi access and I’m happy…

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