Research Online, Purchase Offline

November 20th, 2006 | Categories: marketing, trends

Though the Internet has become an essential product research tool for the average consumer, the majority of purchases still occur offline.

Studies and polls show that consumers enjoy the wealth of information that the net has to offer, but prefer to complete the buying process offline. Many prefer the ability to visually see and touch the product, while others prefer to get the product then and there.

A study done by ComScore, in conjunction with Yahoo, indicates that 92% of consumer electronic purchases take place offline.

Though the two aforementioned articles were written early this year, the basic underlying principle remains the same. People are still more comfortable purchasing offline at bricks-and-mortar stores.

Will this trend continue? Short term, I believe so. Longer term however, as the general population becomes more comfortable with online purchasing and e-commerce, we will slowly see a shift. Nonetheless, there will always be a segment of the population who prefers to shop in an offline, physical setting.

So what’s the point of all of this? Well, with many Internet marketing strategies, measurement and post-strategy analysis is conducted. This is done to determine the ROI of each marketing initiative. From there, the strategy can be tweaked depending on what works and what doesn’t.

What web statistics/metrics/data can’t report are offline statistics and conversions. In some cases, tracking numbers, promo codes, coupons, special phone numbers, etc… can be used to measure conversions on a certain level, but these are inaccurate at best. A new system and/or company with new technology and tracking mechanisms will be crucial to the evolution of the buying cycle. This will not only allow companies to better track their marketing initiatives, but also bridge the gap between online and offline itself. The seamless integration of the two worlds will create innovative tracking mechanisms and mind-boggling marketing ideas.

The advertising cycle has moved from CPM, to CPC, to CPA. We are currently between the CPC and CPA stages. But what’s next? Or… what else do we need to be able to track? Offline conversions, of course.

Though most people research online, most buy offline. If we can somehow track this cycle and bridge the gap, expect big things to come.

One Comment

  1. The Future of the Internet is Offline Says:

    […] Shopping is a totally different story. Research has shown time and time again that consumers research products online, then purchase offline. Tracking this discrepancy is nearly impossible. How is a company to know that an offline purchaser performed research and due diligence online before making the ultimate purchasing decision? Without some sort of questioning or survey, it is impossible. I expect big changes to occur in this industry. Offline conversion tracking will be the Holy Grail. […]

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