According to a recent Wall Street Journal report one major trend emerging from the recent recession is that an ever greater number of consumers are researching ordinary home products – not just electronics and high-end fashion – before they make their shopping trips to their local mall or big-box store.
“Some 62% of shoppers,” the WSJ reports, “say they search for deals online for at least half of their shopping trips, according to a survey by consulting firm Booz & Co. and trade group Grocery Manufacturers.”
And Internet marketing firms are not just concerned with national or regional advertising. Local search is, or should be, an ever-more important aspect of all retailers, according to the newspaper report.
“Google Inc.’s user queries for local searches (like store locations), coupons, recipes and product reviews have doubled or tripled year on year,” Google’s national industry director for consumer-product companies, Kevin Kells told the WSJ. “Those are just proxies for this more informed, more sophisticated shopper,” he says. “The shopper is saying ‘I can’t really afford to be wrong.’ “
“It’s well known that consumers research expensive products like electronics online,” according to the piece in America’s leading business paper, “but coming out of the recession, consumers are more scrupulous about researching their everyday products such as diapers and detergent, too. More than a fifth of them also research food and beverages, nearly a third research pet products and 39% research baby products, even though they ultimately tend to buy those products in stores, according to WSL Strategic Retail, a consulting firm.”
This has led both large and small retailers, as well as name-brand manufacturers, “to target customers via blogs, social-media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and campaigns on retail sites, in addition to in-store campaigns.”
The devolution of online market research by consumers from high-end items to ordinary household goods, should serve as a shot across the bow for both large and small retailers. It is no longer sufficient to have a static website to serve customers, an interactive online marketing effort, with a large social media marketing component, is becoming the price to compete for everyday consumer spending and not just their discretionary household spending.