Consumer online local research is on the rise according to the findings a recent study from TMP Directional Marketing and comScore. Shoppers go about doing their research a variety of ways, with most going to search engines first (31%) followed by print yellow pages/white pages (30%), online Yellow Pages sites (19%), and local search sites (11%).
Only a year ago in the same study, print yellow pages were ranked number one at 33%. This shows that online is becoming more the norm for consumers to do their research before shopping.
"As consumer local search grows with online and offline resources, national advertisers must develop strategic plans for integrating the various mediums into their national programs," said Gregg Stewart, senior vice president of interactive, TMPDM. "Our 2008 study again confirms that consumers do a majority of research online, but continue to make purchases offline with a phone call or in-store visit. Additionally, marketers need to pay close attention to mobile search and sites that offer consumer user reviews, as they are growing in popularity."
Consumers continue to make purchases offline. That’s the good news for brick and mortars. Just because consumers are getting online to look up information does not mean that they will stay online for the sale.
For brick and mortar businesses, this means if you don’t have a web site, you need one. If you aren’t using search engine marketing, social media marketing, etc., you may want to seriously start considering it. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are going to be more integrated into search moving forward by the way.
For online businesses, you should think about the importance of the same issues. Consumers are already going online to do their research. You already have a leg up on the brick and mortars in that regard. Think about that.