Give Shoppers Online Information to Gain Offline Sales

Oct 18, 2004

By John Hennessy reports on the latest American Interactive Consumer Survey done by The Dieringer Group on shopper use of the Internet and consumer spending habits.
The survey of 3,000 adults found that online research by shoppers led to $180.7 billion in offline retail sales, 70 percent more than the $106.5 billion in direct online consumer
spending. “The data confirm that the Internet’s role as a consumer product information utility is much larger than its role as a direct selling medium,” says senior consultant
Thomas E. Miller.

The survey, conducted during the 12-month period ending June 30, found that consumers spend at least $1.70 offline after online research for every consumer dollar spent directly
online. That figure does not include additional web-influenced spending on financial and insurance products, Dieringer said.

The survey also notes that the Internet influences nearly 15 percent of total U.S. retail spending (excluding gasoline and food services). It adds that Internet-influenced sales
grew 31 percent last year, while direct online sales grew 14 percent and total retail spending grew five percent.

Moderator’s Comments: What kind of information can retailers offer online that will help shoppers spend more with
them offline? How does online information contribute to fostering customer loyalty?

A store locator is a terrific tool that can help shoppers visit a retailer’s stores. It should be easy to find on the home page and easy to use. Providing
a map is essential. Just because you know where the ABC Mall is doesn’t mean a potential shopper will.

A more complex but valuable feature that will help close an offline deal online is an inventory lookup capability tied to a local store. This gives people
who are ready to buy one less excuse to shop elsewhere. Adding an order online and pickup in store capability helps shoppers even more.

John Hennessy – Moderator

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