Retailers, beware—if you are focusing on your customers’ in-store experience and ignoring what they do online, you risk “losing incremental sales opportunities,” according to Joe Pilotta of BIGresearch, which has just completed a survey of retail customer shopping habits. The study findings show that 74% of men and 74% of women now chose to research products online before they actually head for a store to buy anything.
In spite of all the analytical data available, the study warns, the figures on spreadsheets fail to provide a complete picture of consumer behavior. Not only do retailers make information available to consumers on their Web sites, even those consumers who prefer to shop in a brick-and-mortar retail environment are taking active advantage of online research to help them make decisions about where to shop and what to buy before they leave their homes.
The survey statistics break respondent categories into income groups. For those earning less than $15,000 per year, food is the top category of pre-purchase online research. Wage-earners who make $25,000–$34,999 per year look more at electronics before purchasing than any other category; for those with incomes that put them in some sort of middle class at $50,000–$74,999, housing is the top research category. For those lucky folks who earn $100,000 or more per year, the most frequently researched, pre-purchase category is—not surprisingly—financial services.
Responses from online researchers categorized by gender show that 79.8% of men claim to research electronics purchases, while 70.8% of women say they research travel online. Travel researchers comprise the category with the oldest average age, at 44.1 years, while the category researched by the youngest average age is housing, at 40.3 years. At the other end of the age spectrum, 18–24-year-olds are interested in dressing up, with shoes and apparel their favorite research category. For more information, you can visit http://www.bigresearch.com.