Consumers Research Products Online,Buy Offline

    May 11, 2007

A new survey from Accenture finds that the majority of U.S. consumers use the Internet to research products but prefer to make their purchases offline.

Consumers Research Products Online,Buy Offline
Consumers Research Products Online,Buy Offline
Consumers Research Products Online,Buy Offline

While 67 percent of those surveyed said they favored making purchases at a bricks and mortar store, 69 percent said they used the Internet to comparison shop, and 58 percent said they go online to locate items before going to the store to make a purchase. Just 13 percent said the Internet had not improved their in-store shopping experience.

"Instead of replacing brick and mortar stores, the Internet is an extension of consumers’ in-store shopping experience providing a resource to research product and price," said Jeff Smith, global managing director of Accenture’s Retail practice.

When asked what the most powerful influencer was concerning purchasing decisions, 60 percent said word of mouth, followed by advertising  (47%) and online information (43%).

The survey findings reveal that consumers want better service and selection both online and in a physical store. Over two-thirds (67%) said they felt physical stores had two few registers available and 54 percent said there were not enough sales people available.

"Consumers are telling us that there is a need for more efficient customer service departments," said Smith. "The phone, and increasingly a company’s web site, are the first points of entry."

"If the on-hold time is too long, if the customer is passed around to different departments or if online navigation is confusing the sale can easily be lost. Customer service can be a powerful – and profitable – differentiator for retailers that know what their customers want and how to deliver it."

The survey participants were composed of 600 U.S. consumers and was conducted online in January of 2007.