Mapping The Path To Purchase How Consumers Navigate The Multi-Channel Landscape

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1 A Commissioned Study Prepared For The Electronic Retailing Association by Forrester Consulting March, 2008 Mapping The Path To Purchase How Consumers Navigate The Multi-Channel Landscape

2 Table Of Contents Executive Summary...3 Consumers Embrace A Multi-Channel World...3 But Offline Retail Presents A Compelling Value Proposition...3 The Web Plays An Important Role In Product Sales And Research...5 TV Sales Represent A Small Portion Of Sales Overall...6 Direct-To-Consumer Ads Often Initiate The Path To Purchase...8 Direct-To-Consumer Advertising Drives Buyers To Other Channels...11 And Age Is Not The Deciding Factor For Who Goes Where...15 Direct-To-Consumer Marketers Need An Integrated Approach...16 Appendix...17 Appendix A: Related Forrester Research...17 Appendix B: Methodology Research Methodology , Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Forrester, Forrester Wave, RoleView, Technographics, TechRadar, and Total Economic Impact are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. Forrester clients may make one attributed copy or slide of each figure contained herein. Additional reproduction is strictly prohibited. For additional reproduction rights and usage information, go to Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change

3 Executive Summary Consumers shop many channels to find the products and services they seek and with the growth of the Internet their options and sources of information have exploded. While electronic retailing is generally seen as a niche channel, it is one that has an enormous influence over the purchase behavior of consumers online and offline. As consumers increase their use of the Web for gathering information and making purchases, it is clear that electronic retailing has a strong role to play in initiating that drive for information. To capitalize on the role of electronic retailing as catalyst, direct response advertisers must do more to integrate their advertising with search and online marketing and to make sure that their Web sites provide the rich product information savvy that Web shoppers crave. Consumers Embrace A Multi-Channel World As ecommerce and online shopping have matured, consumers have shown themselves to be adept at moving between bricks and clicks: that is using the Internet, TV, catalogs, and retail to research and satisfy their product and service needs. The following survey data indicates that there is an increased level of comfort with multi-channel retailing: Consumers know how to shop and pay online. In Forrester s Q Consumer Technographics survey, 88% of online consumers reported that they have purchased and paid for a product online. They re getting comfortable researching online and purchasing offline as well. Fiftyone percent of online consumers have shopped across channels they ve researched online and purchased offline and that number is growing every year. And many participate in online auctions. Thirty-six percent of online adults report they have bid on an online auction, while 21% have sold something in an online auction. But Offline Retail Presents A Compelling Value Proposition Despite the interest and increasing use of clicks, consumers still express a fondness for retail. Although the prevalence of online shopping continues to grow, retail s strength is demonstrated by several data points including: Even online shoppers prefer retail. Among US Web buyers in Forrester s survey, 66% expressed a preference for shopping at retail versus 33% for shopping online. Only 1% of consumers expressed a preference for each of the three remaining channels: catalog, phone and TV (see Figure 1)

4 Figure 1: Even Web Buyers Prefer Retail Offline shoppers cite security concerns and a desire for touch and feel. Online shopping holdouts (those who have never purchased online) cite concerns about revealing their financial information online and a desire to touch and feel the products they buy as the top reasons why they don t purchase online (see Figure 2). Cross-channel shoppers see distinct retail advantages as well. Even the most sophisticated online shoppers have distinct reasons for researching online and purchasing offline. Retail offers immediacy, the ability to touch and feel and purchasers don t have to pay shipping (see Figure 3). Figure 2: Why Non-Buyers Don t Buy - 4 -

5 Figure 3: Offline Shopping Offers Some Distinct Advantages The Web Plays An Important Role In Product Sales And Research While the Web is not always the preferred place for making purchases, many consumers use it as a primary source of product and price information. Before buying, consumers often turn to a variety of online sources for information and often that search is very directed. Specifically, consumers: Trust manufacturers Web sites as a reliable source of information. Eighteen percent of consumers that Forrester surveyed rank brand Web sites as trusted sources for information ahead of consumer opinions online, TV, newspaper and magazine ads, celebrity endorsements, and other common marketing tactics. Focus their sights on the information and products they want. These shoppers are not simply browsing for information; 44% of online shoppers said they had researched a Web site and a product online before going out to shop and 33% had the product in mind they were looking for, even if they did not know the exact Web site where they would find it. Seek out the information they need. Thirty-two percent of those who visit manufacturers sites arrive via a search engine and another 30% by typing in the URL. Consumers use search to find the information they want and to seek out the companies with whom they wish to do business (see Figure 4)

6 Figure 4: Visitors to Manufacturer Web Sites Come From Diverse Sources TV Sales Represent A Small Portion Of Sales Overall While infomercial shopping and home shopping are part of the overall purchasing mix, they are not mainstream shopping mediums for most consumers. Forrester s research reveals that TV shopping represents a small fraction of the purchasing pie. In fact: More than three quarters of consumers said they never buy off TV. While one out of every two online consumers makes a purchase online at least monthly, only 3% of these same consumers said they buy from TV at least monthly and 4% off of phone. 77% of these consumers said they never buy off TV and 62% said they never buy via phone (see Figure 5). Those who buy online weekly are also more likely to buy through TV. Among those who shop online at least weekly, 18% said they also shop off TV at least weekly and 17% said they shop via phone at least weekly. Whereas among the weekly retail shoppers, only 5% frequent these channels as often (see Figure 6). Online shoppers expect better prices online and on TV. Among Web buyers, 66% expect online prices to be lower than retail, and 30% expect TV to do the same. By contrast, only 13% of online shoppers expect phone to offer a lower price than the retail store (see Figure 7)

7 Figure 5: More Than Three Quarters Of Consumers Said They Never Buy From TV Figure 6: Online Buyers Are More Likely To Buy Off TV As Well - 7 -

8 Figure 7: One-Third Of Web Buyers Expect To Find Lower Prices Off TV Than In Retail Direct-To-Consumer Ads Often Initiate The Path To Purchase While direct-to-consumer advertisements do not always drive purchases, overall they are highly influential in driving sales in other channels. In a study commissioned by the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA), Forrester examined the role of direct-to-consumer ads in initiating a path to purchase among different target segments. This survey was conducted with a representative sample of online consumers across age groups (see appendix for sample breakdown). Some of the findings confirm those in earlier Forrester studies, including: The majority of survey participants do not buy off TV. In the ERA survey, 99% of respondents said they had shopped at retail or on the Internet during the past year, while 16% said they had shopped via TV, and 2% via radio (see Figure 8). Those who do buy from TV are likely to be older. Those who had purchased from TV either by home shopping or by infomercial are more likely to be 45-plus. Infomercial shoppers are slightly more likely to be males while there is no distinguishable difference between male or female home shopping network shoppers (see Figures 9-1 and 9-2). Trust and security are concerns for buyers, especially for infomercials. While TV shoppers like the convenience and ease of shopping from TV, they are concerned about its security: 28% of infomercial shoppers agreed with the statement I worry about my security when I purchase via infomercial (see Figure 10)

9 Figure 8: Retail And Internet Purchasing Dominate Figure 9-1: Infomercial And Home Shopping TV Shoppers By Age - 9 -

10 Figure 9-2: Infomercial And Home Shopping TV Shoppers By Gender Figure 10: Security Is A Concern For Infomercial Shoppers

11 Direct-To-Consumer Advertising Drives Buyers To Other Channels Evident in the ERA survey is the ripple effect of direct-to-consumer advertising. While rates of purchase from numbers are low, direct-to-consumer advertising unquestionably drives purchasers of all ages to other channels to research and ultimately to buy, including retail, Web sites, search engines and portals. The survey finds that: TV drives a majority of viewers to search engines. Fifty-eight percent of survey participants claim to have gone online in the last year to a major search engine to research a product they saw on TV. Top reasons for going to the search engine include search engines help me find more product information (84%); I wanted more information before purchasing the product (72%); and I wanted to compare prices (64%) (see Figure 11). Figure 11: Many Are Influenced By TV To Search Online TV also drives large numbers to its own Web site. Forty percent of survey participants claim they have gone to the Web site advertised on the infomercial or home shopping show after the show was aired. Eighty-seven percent said that they wanted to get more information about the product, while 57% said that they wanted to find out where to get it at retail. Of those who went to the TV Web site, 59% said they eventually purchased the product at one of a variety of channels (see Figure 12). Large numbers go to retail as well and buy at high rates. Forty-four percent of those who participated in our survey claim they went to retail to look at a product or service they saw advertised on TV. Most commonly they go to touch and feel the product (70%) and understand its quality (74%). Once a shopper goes to retail he or she usually turns into a

12 buyer: seventy-seven percent of those who go to retail to look at a product advertised for sale on TV claim they ultimately purchased that product at retail (see Figures 13-1, 13-2, 13-3, and 13-4). Figure 12: TV Shopping Drives Many More People To The Web Figure 13-1: Forty-Four Percent Went To Retail To Look For A Product They Saw On TV

13 Figure 13-2: Retail Helps Shoppers Understand Product Quality... Figure 13-3:... Giving The Consumers Peace Of Mind For Purchase

14 Figure 13-4: Retail Sales Close At A Very High Rate While portals draw comparison shoppers. Thirty-eight percent of respondents have gone to portal shopping sites or online auction sites to look for a product they saw on infomercial. Their top reason for going? To compare prices, of course. Of those who visited these sites, 55% said they eventually purchased the product (see Figures 14-1, 14-2, and 14-3). Figure 14-1: More Than One-Third Of Consumers Will Go To A Portal

15 Figure 14-2:... Because They Like The Opportunity To Compare Prices Figure 14-3: More Than Half Eventually Purchase And Age Is Not The Deciding Factor For Who Goes Where Although it is tempting to think that age distinguishes online shoppers from phone shoppers, the truth is not that simple. While seniors (60-years-old and over) are least likely to use any kind of technology to search for, or buy a product, they are also the least likely to seek out a product at retail. Overall, looking at the role of age in the path to purchase reveals that: Adults 18 to 28 are the least likely to buy from TV. They are also less likely than consumers 30 to 59 to search for a product online, go to a company Web site, look for or purchase a product at retail or search for it on a portal. Consumers 48 to 59 are the most likely to said they buy from TV. Forty-five percent of consumers in this group said they have purchased directly from an infomercial and 40% said they have bought from a home shopping channel. They are more than three times more likely to said they have done so than 18- to 29-year-olds

16 Consumers 30 to 44 do the most searching and shopping overall. While they are not the biggest TV purchasers, 30- to 44-year-olds dominate all other categories, from participating in online auctions to researching and purchasing through search engines, Web sites, retail, and portals. Direct-To-Consumer Marketers Need An Integrated Approach It is clear that when it comes to direct-to-consumer advertising, no single path to purchase exists. Consumers move across channels in search of deeper product information, price comparisons, and purchasing alternatives. As direct-to-consumer marketers look to the future, the need to integrate their TV messaging with their online messaging is greater than ever. In particular, direct-toconsumer sellers can benefit if they: Offer Web sites with rich product information not just ways to buy. Survey respondents give the desire for more product information as the top reason for why they use search engines and visit the advertiser s Web site, and the second most important reason they visit portal sites. Only 19% of survey respondents agree with the statement infomercials help me make an informed product purchase decision, which implies that even with a long form show they can t get all their questions answered from TV. Integrate search engine marketing into every show. Forrester s research shows that search is the top way that consumers find manufacturers Web sites and 58% of the ERA survey respondents said they use a search engine to find a product on a site. One third of respondents said they used a search engine because they couldn t remember a specific product URL. Smart DR marketers should purchase key search terms to make sure consumers looking for their product online will reach the correct site. Online ad buys may offer another way to drive traffic and DR sales. List approved retailers on their site. Fifty-seven percent of those who visit the advertiser s site are looking for information on where to purchase the product at retail. Among those who go to retail, the success rate for closing the sale is a staggering 77%. By offering retail information, advertisers can help drive sales to their preferred channel partners. Invest in Web analytics. To fully understand the path to purchase for their unique product, every DR advertiser must have the analytics that can show who visited their site, which search engine, key word buy, or online ad they came from, where they clicked on the site, and whether they bought on the first or future visits. Understanding the long term conversion and information needs of Web shoppers will allow DR manufacturers to better tailor their message and site marketing

17 The Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) is the trade association that represents the leaders of direct response, members who maximize revenues through electronic retailing on television, online and on radio. ERA strives to protect the regulatory and legislative climate of direct response while ensuring a favorable landscape that enhances e-retailers' ability to bring quality products and services to the consumer. ERA s mission is to drive, grow, and shape the future of electronic retailing and its vision is to be the universally recognized authority, resource, and voice for electronic retailing. Appendix Appendix A: Related Forrester Research See the January 3, 2007, Advertising Tactics that Win Consumer Trust. See the December 19, 2007 Retail Channel Surfers Prefer To Buy Offline. See the August 27, 2007 How Consumers Use Manufacturers Web Sites

18 Appendix B: Methodology Research Methodology In January, 2008 Forrester conducted a survey of 343 US online consumers to understand their online and offline shopping behaviors, their propensity for purchasing off of TV, and their likelihood of purchasing a product they saw on TV from another channel such as retail, a Web site, or a shopping portal. The respondents broke out as follows:

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