Thursday, December 21, 2006

Largest W2S Survey Ever Conducted - Breaking Results

Back in late September 2006, I launched an effort here at ShopLocal to conduct the largest and most comprehensive W2S survey that has every been conducted. After working with our great clients, we got 30+ retailers on board from a wide range of retail categories. I honestly never expected the massive number of responses that we ended up getting from a small, non-obtrusive free (eg no compensation for the respondents) survey. I was and still am really blown away. If this has taught me anything it is that people online like to fill out surveys and tell you what they think.

Below are some of the highlights of this landmark survey taken from the official company press release that launched today...

"The Online Circular and Shopping Benchmark Survey Finds 95% of Shoppers Who Check Online Deals Weekly Visit a Retailer at Least Once a Month with 53% Shopping Every Week

Consumers who first research products online are more likely to spend more and purchase more in-store rather than over the Internet, according to a new survey from ShopLocal, the leading multi-channel shopping resource. Of the more than 37,500 people who responded to the quarterly survey, 69 percent said they gathered information on products online and then made at least one purchase at a local store compared with 27 percent who bought over the Internet.

The majority of respondents (56 percent) went to the online circulars specifically to browse sales and discounts before purchasing and another 35 percent cited new specials piqued their interest. There was some variance from category to category with respondents indicating they browsed through the online circulars for less costly items, such as comparing groceries and beauty specials, but with a specific consumer electronic in mind, people often used the online circulars to research and compare specific items before visiting their local stores.

The Online Circular and Shopping Benchmark Survey was conducted by ShopLocal from October 26 through December 5, 2006 from 32 retailers and across five major categories: consumer electronics, food/beverage and health/beauty, home and garden, mass merchant and office supplies. Over 37,500 shoppers who went to the retailers Web sites responded to the survey."

Friday, December 01, 2006

Why Do People Go To A Newspaper Website?

According to the a new study just released by the NAA (Newspaper Association of America - Internet Shopping & Advertising Study -- Consumer Usage of Newspaper Advertising 2006 - Prepared by MORI Research), about one out of three visitors to a newspaper web site went there to get information on retail stores...

"Newspaper Web Sites and Shopping Information
One-third of Internet users (32 percent) and 24 percent of all adults visited a newspaper Web site in the previous 30 days

Newspaper Web site visitors on average do more things online, including shopping, than is the case with other Internet users. This is amply documented in the recent “Power Users 2006” report from NAA. For example, among past-30-day, newspaper-site visitors, 55 percent have seen or used online preprint advertising, compared with only 42 percent of other Internet shoppers.

Why do users visit newspaper Web sites? Almost two-thirds of past 30-day visitors mentioned various types of advertising information, including 30 percent citing retail shopping information in particular. This proportion spikes up to 39 percent among the 25-to-34 age group.
Internet Shopping & Advertising

Question: Thinking of all the reasons you have visited the newspaper’s web site, for what types of information or services have you looked at or used the site? (aided)

Reasons Visited Newspaper Web site
  • News (net) 88%
  • Local or regional news = 80%
  • National news = 66%
  • Advertising (net) = 62%
  • Shopping information for retail stores = 30%
  • Homes or real estate search = 29%
  • Job hunting information = 28%
  • Shopping for cars or trucks = 19%
  • Weather = 57%
  • Movie listings or other entertainment information = 46%
  • Sports scores & information = 42%
  • Stocks or stock market = 21%
  • None of these = 2%
Base = Adults who visited newspaper Web site in past 30 days"

Online FSI / Circulur Ads Give A Better Sense Of A Product Than A Printed Insert

In a new study that was just released by the Newspaper Association of America (Internet Shopping & Advertising Study -- Consumer Usage of Newspaper Advertising 2006 - Prepared by MORI Research) some more interesting insights were found about the whether an online FSI / circular ad gave a consumer a better idea about a product...

"Product Appearance: Earlier, it was noted that 53 percent of newspaper preprint users agreed that they give a good idea of what products look like. The Internet, however, seems to have an advantage over preprints on this characteristic, although there obviously is much room for variation. By a 62 percent to 25 percent margin, online shoppers said that they get a better sense of product appearance on the screen than with a printed insert. Women (55 percent) are somewhat less inclined than men (62 percent) to favor the Internet on this question. (Newspaper preprint users who shop online are about average on this question.)

Question: In general, would you say that you get a better idea of a product’s appearance by seeing it in a printed advertisement in a newspaper insert, or by seeing it online, on a web site?

Product Appearance in Printed Insert vs. Online
  • Better seeing product online = 62%
  • Better seeing product in print advertisement = 25%
  • About the same = 11%
  • Neither = 2%
  • Don’t know = 1%
Base = Adults who shopped online in past 30 days"

New Research About People's Awareness That FSIs / Inserts Are Available Online

In a new study that was just released by the Newspaper Association of America (Internet Shopping & Advertising Study -- Consumer Usage of Newspaper Advertising 2006 - Prepared by MORI Research) some very interesting conclusion were found about the general public's awareness that FSIs / Inserts / Circulars are available online...

"Awareness of Online Inserts: Almost half of online shoppers said that they have seen or checked online versions of newspaper advertising inserts that are available at some store Web sites. Young adults, especially women age18-34 (57 percent), are more likely to have seen online preprints. Awareness also is higher in the Northeast (52 percent) than the Western (42 percent) census regions.

Question: Some companies who advertise in newspaper inserts make the same information available online. That is, you might go to a store’s web site, enter your zip code, and see pictures of the same insert that appeared in your local newspaper. Have you ever seen or used a feature like this on any store’s web site?

Aware that Inserts Are Available Online
  • Yes, have seen or used this type of feature online = 47%
  • No, have not seen or used this type of feature online = 52%
  • Don’t know = 1%
Base = Adults who shopped online in past 30 days"

Monday, November 27, 2006

Online Price Comparisons Fuel Local Offline Shopping

Here is some interesting W2S data that just came in off the wire. comScore is starting to recognize that people use online resources that end up driving people in-store. Below is the press release excerpt.

From comScore Networks - RESTON, Va., November 26, 2006:


Higher Than Expected E-Commerce Spending During Thanksgiving Weekend Has Online Retailers Eagerly Anticipating Cyber Monday

Online Price Comparisons Fuel Local Offline Shopping

"...An analysis of traffic to online comparison shopping sites revealed a distinct surge in visits on Black Friday, as consumers began their traditional hunt for holiday bargains. Visits to the leading shopping engines collectively rose 21 percent on Black Friday, versus the average number of daily visits during November., however, saw a triple digit increase in visits on Black Friday and during the preceding three days, as consumers took advantage of the site’s ability to help them pinpoint bargains available at local offline retailers.

“Clearly consumers are increasing their use of online resources to drive their offline shopping,” commented Mr. Fulgoni. “On Black Friday, when many consumers were drawing up their ‘battle plans’ for finding in-store bargains, it appears that the savviest among them had already used the Internet to price items for purchase at local stores offline. We expect this trend to continue during the holiday season.”

Monday, November 13, 2006

Actual Web-to-Store Data From A Leading Retailer - Amazing Results

Here is some new and very interesting W2S research that one of the largest retailers in the world recently conducted. This retailer found that those customers that visited their online circular site were on average:
  • Conducted 47% more store transactions than the regular customers that did not view the online circular.
  • Visited a store 32% more than the regular customers that did not view the online circular.
  • Spent 26% more overall (total spend over a 12 month period) than the regular customers that did not view the online circular.
This research was based upon a 12 month slice of data that included all household purchases.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

How Influential Is The Internet In A Consumers Buying Process?

According to a Pew Internet & American Life Project (2005) survey, 70.6% of households with incomes of $75K or more say the Internet is their primary source of information when evaluating and comparing products

Online Activities Often Drive In-Store Sales

In a recent survey by The Multi-channel Shopping Transformation Study, The e-tailing group/J.C. Williams Group/Start Sampling , 2006, a sample group of consumer where asked, How frequently do you shop in the following ways?  Below are the behaviors that the survey respondents indicated that they were very to somewhat frequently performing:

  • Go to the store, then buy online - 19%
  • Browse a website then buy in-store - 37%


  • Receive an email, then buy online - 15%
  • Receive a coupon then buy in-store - 60%


  • Read a newspaper circular then buy online - 15%
  • View a newspaper circular online then buy in-store - 34% 


  • Receive a catalog and buy online - 36%
  • Receive a catalog and buy in-store - 25%

Who Are W2S Shoppers?

On average, your typically W2S shopper is:

  • An average age of 39.7 years
  • A male between the ages of 18 – 49
  • Same education/income as e-commerce shoppers
  • A frequent shoppers
  • A broadband users
  • A college graduates
  • Makes more than $75,000 income (households)
  • English speaking
  • Tuesday, September 05, 2006

    Why Online Shoppers Still Go Instore To Buy

    Most consumers still prefer to buy in stores they trust, close to where they live, and here is the data to back this up...

    Interesting Web - To - Store (W2S) Tidbits

    Comscore says: "63% of purchases resulting from online search (and research) occur offline"

    Jupiter says: "Ther internet is expected to influence nearly half of all retail sales in 2010"

    Burst Media says: "57% of shoppers 18 or older say the intenet is their primary source of information pre-purchase"

    How Significant Of Role Does Online Research Play On Offline Retail Spending?

    Wednesday, August 30, 2006

    How Mobile Technology May Help Bridge The Web - To - Store Gap

    "An interactive marketed for one of the major mobile carriers told me recently that the Store Locater function on his main Web site produces one of the big blank spots in his knowledge about the effectiveness of his online spend. Almost all of his other online investments produce reams of detailed metrics he can use to optimize, calculate ROI, and spec out future projects. The Store Locater gets a ton of traffic, but he has no idea where it goes and how effectively it drives people to the retail stores themselves. There remains an enormous gap between the Web and retail and our understanding of how the two work together. We just know that they do work together--somehow." (Let's Go Shopping, by Steve Smith, Tuesday, Aug 29, 2006 3:01 PM ET)

    This is such a great example of the current opportunity that exists in the W2S world. I am betting (as many others are)
    that mobile applications (such as couponing) will lead the charge in connecting the Web with in store shopping. To drive this bridge forward, the new Web - to - phone space will need to continue to evolve.

    To read the full article, click here

    Tuesday, August 29, 2006

    Circuit City Claims That 50% Of All In Store Sales Are A Result Of W2S Behavior

    Here is a clip from a recent DM News article that demonstrates how much of a part web - to - store sales constitue for one major retailer. It just goes to show how powerful the W2S behavior pattern is becoming.

    Multichannel Marketing is Key Says

    "Another key point is that Web-to-store traffic is a big business. Circuit City gets 50 percent of its customers visiting its Web site at before coming into its store, Scott Silverman (executive director for said. The electronics retailer has also seen a lot of traffic to the store for online returns, which results in new sales.

    The Web site not only works in concert with stores, but also with catalogs. Mr. Silverman said that catalogs are evolving and that there is often a spike in online sales just after a catalog drops."

    Wednesday, August 16, 2006

    Coupon, Inc program goes contextual to drive web-to-store sales

    Coupons Inc. is now putting a spin on contextual ad serving with a new program that serves up coupons contextually, for home printing and store redemption.

    For example, the system works when a "bot" scans copy relating to children’s nutrition and healthy cereals on a host site, and then generates links to consumer-printable coupons for whole-grain cereals manufactured by or available at the coupon’s sponsor. The offer of a printable coupon appears in a small window that’s launched when a consumer mouses over highlighted words in the copy. When printed, the coupons are then redeemable at local retailers.

    One metric of success for the system, will be an increase in coupon printing and redemption for participating marketers. While many CPG and other sites already offer printable coupons, consumers generally have to look for them in a dedicated area of the site. The contextual presentation of the coupons in the program already is producing multiple double-digit increases in the rate of coupons being printed on participating sites. Coupons, Inc. anticipates that it could increase the store redemption rate, now averaging about 15% to 17% by a few percentage points.

    What makes this interesting is that coupons are one of the "tools of the trade" that W2S firms use to help prove that consumers are in fact making the leap from researching online to purchasing instore. However, using coupons to make a business case has traditionally been a very difficult task as the print and redemtion rates are usually very low (much lower than the claimed 15%-17% redemption rates that Coupons, Inc claims). What would be interesting is to possible try out this new technology of serving coupons to consumers in a more relevant manner, and then to see if the results of viewing -> printing -> redemption is any better.

    To read more about this store, click here

    Newspaper Free-Standing Inserts Helps Consumers Plan Their Shopping

    According to a survey study conducted by Scarborough Research (for the NAA), 78% of newspaper readers have used a free-standing insert (FSI) to help them plan an upcoming shopping trip. In addition, 76% of these readers said that these FSI ads helped them save money.

    This is good news for the online circular market, as this only goes to prove that FSI's remain a great marketing vehicle to reach consumers with relevant local sale information.

    Tuesday, May 02, 2006

    Local Search Could Grow To $13 Billion By 2010 (source: The Kelsey Group)

    Will Google dominate local search? How much market share will the IYP's end up owning? Is there an available market play out there for the small upstart to get in and own a piece of the pie? These questions are debated in Forbes this month. The general conclusion - Yes, there is an un-meet need in the market right now to reach mop & pop businesses. The only question is then, who will step up to the plate?

    For more information, click here

    Local Shoppers Rely on Online Shopping Search Twice as Often as Nearest Media Influences

    More interesting W2S research being released from ShopLocal. Within the third installment of the Web-to-Store Benchmark Survey conducted by The Dieringer Group (The DRG), the survey revealed that the number of W2S shoppers has grown by 20%; from 83MM to 100MM. Shoppers also continue to use the Internet, at increasing rates, to research shopping before local shopping trips; relying upon online information nearly twice as often as other media.

    Top Media for Product Information Used by Shoppers:
    -- Web-to-store internet research
    -- Newspaper ads/inserts
    -- Local TV ads
    -- Local radio Ads

    "Consumers depend upon online research to help them decide how, when, and where to shop," said ShopLocal CEO, Brian Hand. "The research shows that most shoppers do both Web-to-store shopping and direct online shopping based on what's most convenient for them. They're smart shoppers looking for readily accessible, trusted and relevant information."

    An estimated 100.4 million shoppers utilize the to research products prior to shopping locally. The W2S survey indicates that many of those shoppers purchased locally as opposed to online, for the following reasons:
    -- Prefer to avoid shipping costs
    -- Did not want to wait for shipping
    -- Concerns over product returns
    -- Prefer to support local retailers and economy
    -- More fun to shop in person at local stores

    Products from the following categories are much more likely to be purchased locally after online research includes:
    -- Major Appliances
    -- Home Improvement
    -- Vehicle Parts & Services
    -- Cameras
    -- Electronics
    -- Small Appliances
    -- Tools
    -- Baby Products

    Additionally, 85% of shoppers indicated that they purchase products instore beyond those they researched online. Typical spending is one hundred to two hundred dollars above the products researched online prior to their local shopping trip.

    Friday, April 28, 2006

    More W2S Shopping Research Data

    Here are some interesting results from a W2S study that Schulman, Ronca, & Bucuvalas, NY did for the The Olympian newspaper in December 2003:

    - 2/3 of online adults engaged in Web-to-Store shopping in Q4 of 2004.
    - Web-to-store shoppers say they saved an average of 8.1 hours of shopping time in the last 3 months by conducting online research before making local shopping trips.
    - For every dollar spent online, Web-to-Store shoppers spend $1.60 offline.
    Retailers prefer newspaper sites.
    - Sixty-five percent of retailers report that newspaper web sites are efficient in assisting them in meeting marketing needs compared with other sites.

    Nothing new or suprising here, but again just another source confirming all other research being done on this topic.

    Wednesday, April 26, 2006 Survey Finds That 37% of Consumers on Shopping Site Plan to Make Web-to-Store Purchase Within Two Weeks

    Proving that what consumers browse and research online leads to actual in store purchases has always been a very difficult challege for anyone in the W2S industry. ShopLocal has tried numerous intiatives to help gage and quantify these types of purchasing behaviors. In the past, the ShopLocal team has looked at special W2S coupon redemption rates, bumps in in-store (physical) traffic, puchase data collected from private label credit cards, web surveys and a host of many other techniques to capture this elusive data. Well the team is at it again and by working with the Dieringer Research Group, it has come up with some very insightful information on how many people actually take action (eg make a purchase) based upon being presented with localized product and store information. Below is the full press release that was put out yesterday that has some finer detail of the survey findings:

    Chicago - April 25, 2006: ShopLocal, LLC, the leading provider of Web-to-store (W2S) and e-commerce marketing solutions for retailers announced today that in a recent ShopLocal survey conducted by The Dieringer Research Group, 37% of consumers planned to make a Web-to-store purchase within fourteen days of visiting the site.

    This proves the ROI on local shopping search and information," said ShopLocal CEO, Brian Hand. "The survey about speaks to a larger retail and search trend; when consumers are presented with relevant localization on the Internet, they feel empowered to go out and shop their local stores."

    The average reported spending by survey respondents was over $250 and 70% of those shoppers purchased other products at local stores besides those they originally researched. Top categories of additional products purchased included "Food and Beverage," "Household Products," and "Health and Beauty." 30% of respondents also indicated that using the Web site influenced the selection of the bricks and mortar store where they finally made their purchases.

    Thursday, April 20, 2006

    National Retailers Must Embrace Localization On Internet

    An interesting column in AdAge earlier this month stated that larger national retailers are going to have to begin to bend their marketing and web site efforts to meet shoppers growing need demand for locally relevant content argues. One of the biggest areas for opportunity is local search. Below is a short clip from the article that goes onto elloborate on the demand, growth and currently available technology solutions for creating relevant local search results:

    "National retailers are also failing miserably in providing consumers with a relevant online local search experience. Industry prognosticators report that anywhere from 25% to 40% of the 5 billion monthly search engine queries are local in intent: A 2004 study by The Kelsey Group and, based on 5,000 online buyers, found that 25% of commercial searches were local. Another Kelsey study in December 2003 found that 60% of all searches were local in nature. And a March 2006 study by eMarketer found that "the growth of local search will outstrip national search in every year from 2005 through 2010."

    Of course, Google and Yahoo pay attention to large numbers. Each is competing to develop local search results that provide relevant local information, including maps and consumer reviews of local businesses. For example, Google late last month launched a paid service that lets local advertisers place display ads for their businesses within the map that appears along with local search results. Search-engine upstarts such as Metrobot, which arrays merchants on street-level pedestrian-friendly maps, and TrueLocal, which winnows search results to actual bricks-and-mortar stores, are delivering on the consumer's desire to have a local Internet experience.

    While most national retailers use search engine optimization techniques to make their Web sites pop up when a consumer types in their store name and a city, or a product category and a city, the payoff to the consumer is anything but "local." The consumer ends up at the retailer's main home page, where she must then search again for her desired product and then navigate to the store locator feature, which merely provides a map and telephone number.

    Some technology companies are developing solutions that allow retailers to create more relevant local search results. For example, ShopLocal, Local Thunder and ReachLocal have each developed unique platforms-with different emphases-that allow retailers to create relevant content to respond to local search queries. The Local Thunder platform also features a technology that builds local-content landing pages that operate off the retailer's Store Locator feature and local search-engine queries."

    To read the entire article, go to:

    Consumers Searching Retailers' Local Online Circulars Grew 18.7% in the Q1 of 2006

    Here is an interesting statistic that the analysts team here at ShopLocal came up with. Within the first quarter of 2006, as compared to the same period in 2005, consumers interest for local store and sale information grew at 18.7%. This clearly helps demonstrate that internet users are ever interested in searching the web for localized pre-sale information. Retailers that help equip their customers with this local pre-sale information are seeing the direct benefits such as increased in-store traffic and higher promotional sales lifts, as consumers are more and more doing their pre-shopping research and decision making online and then going into stores to buy.

    To read the entire press release, go to:

    Wednesday, April 19, 2006

    Target's Online Weekly Ad Site Finds A Way To Keep The 'Lights On'

    Target during the week on 04/16 - 4/22 is running a very interesting concept. Instead of not offering their online guests any online specials and deals on their very successful online weekly ad site during a week were no regular Sunday circular/FSI was produced, Target took one another small step forward to bridging the web - to - store divide. The online marketing team @ Target decided to create unique web only content for this one week period. What makes this innovative is that the marketing department was not constrainded with the typical limitations of the circular print production process. Rather the team was able to explore new presentations of local in-store sale content to their online guests. I am really excited for this concept to catch on with other retailers as it opens up new doors for content creation and publication (by not having to follow the newspaper ad / FSI model of creating localized sale information).

    To check it out, go to:

    Friday, April 14, 2006

    Multichannel Retailers Will be Bringing The Web Into The Physical World More And More - Forrester

    Here is an intresting clip from a September 2005 Forrester Research paper that talks about some future growth predictions that mixed multi-channel retailing is in for:

    "With more retailers offering the ability to buy online and pick up in stores — bringing eCommerce experiences into stores with kiosks and using the Web as a test market for new product lines — multichannel retailers do their share to introduce and hype online shopping to consumers. As store networking costs fall and retailers look for innovative ways to differentiate their store experiences, this trend will accelerate during the next five years, introducing eCommerce and technology to the masses. As consumers find themselves surrounded by technology in retail experiences, even some of the 30% of online Web buying holdouts will submit — fear and reluctance to use technology is the main reason that they don’t shop online today.5 Women make up a large portion of this group, and as they now outnumber men in the online shopping ranks, they buy from new product categories. The health and beauty category will grow at a 22% CAGR during the next five years, and the entire apparel category (apparel, accessories, and footwear) will total nearly $26 billion in 2010."

    How To Leverage Multi-Channel Fulfillment To Produce A Seamless Customer Experience

    Converged software solutions are beginning to make it possible for a multi-channel retailer to provide to their customers product information, customer service, shopping experience and order fulfillment throughout all areas of their business. While in the past, most retailers adopted a very compartmentalized approach to their online and store channels, consumers are now being trained to expect retailers to be able to do actions like: buy online --> return in store or order in-store via a kiosk --> get the item shipped to your home for free. The number of consumers performing these types of web-to-store (W2S) behavior will continue to increase, so there is now a real incentive for retailers to begin to offer these types of services to their consumers. My prediction still stands that ntegration of systems, channels and processes will continue to be one the key driving forces in retail over the next 5-7 years.

    To read the entire store, go to:

    Thursday, April 13, 2006

    Shop Online, But Pick Up At Your Local Store

    For years, the folks around my office have all deemed local in-store inventory information the "holy grail" of web-to-store shopping information. Well, Jeff Bezos would differ. He states that he does not see the value often times of providing consumers this type of information online as most larger retailers manage on-shelf inventories so well that most items are always instock. For the Wal-Mart's of the world out there, this is true. But when it comes to smaller niche retailers, knowing whether an item is availble in-store for pickup today before leaving the house is a powerful value proposition. Circuit City proved this with the recent (successful) launch of their buy online, pick up in store campaign. They claim about 50% of their web orders are being fulfilled through local brick-and-morter retail stores. This simple fact really shocks me that other retailers are not getting on board with this idea as a key way of leveraging their phyisical retail assets. Only time will tell...

    To read the entire article go to:

    Monday, April 03, 2006

    What It Takes To Be A Leading Local Search Engine

    Just read an intersting article that details some of the partnerships that is doing these days to build out its local search service. From pay-per-call, to reviews, to local shopping cotent seems to be gathering, organizing and making this fragmented information useful to users looking for relevant answers to their questions. Personally, I am most excited about the potential of pay-per-call advertising, as it is currently demanding costs from about $10 - $25 per qualifed call. That is some serious cash when compared to cost-per-click models that typical range from $0.10 - $0.60 cents per click.

    For more info goto:

    Local Search & Advertising Projected To Take Off In 2007

    A recent blog post by Peter Krasilovsky (March 29, 2007 - reposted below) suggests that 2007 will be the year for local merchants to start taking to the net for advertising and search. As the tier one and two search engines jockey for position in this every expanding vertical, it will be intersting to see who ends up leading this market. While the IYPs appear to have an early lead, I am doubtful that in the end, these sites will be able to keep their market position, since the information they leverage is not all that unique. All in all, those sites that can tell you what to buy, where to buy it, what's on sale, what's for sale, and where it is available I predict will win out in the end.


    ShopLocal, the women-oriented sales service from Tribune, Knight Ridder and Gannett, is breaking through on local and will see revenue from smaller, local stores outpace revenue from larger, national stores such as Target by 2007 , CEO Brian Hand told The Local Onliner.

    Hand notes that the site gets 25 million unique users a month, and has been ranked by ComScore as one of the fastest growing sites anywhere on the Web. The traffic boost is the result of free print- and- online advertising from its partners, as well as carefully-placed SEM and SEO efforts.

    Currently, the site has about 20,000 local advertisers. It is pushing to boost the count via local services directories, powered by Planet Discover. It is also getting heavy sales efforts by its newspaper partners, which include the TKG papers, as well as The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, The Houston Chronicle and The Las Vegas Review-Journal.

    The site also benefits from additional distribution from IYP/search sources such as Switchboard, SuperPages, and Froogle Local (and consequently, GoogleBase). In all, it has 400 distribution partners, including 150 private label sources. “I don’t care if they know ‘ShopLocal’ as a name,” said Hand.

    While Hand said that advertising is going strong, ecommerce revenue streams may take longer to develop. Rival StepUp, for instance, has been promoting inventory listing and product descriptions as an effective method for driving customers to local stores.

    StepUp CEO Kendall Fargo told the Kelsey Drilling Down Conference that store owners are “very excited” about inventory lists. “Typically, they’ll say things like: ‘I never knew that product drove people to my store,’” said Fargo. Such capabilities represent a new generation of marketing for store owners previously under-whelmed by their return on investment from websites, and then search engines, he added.

    But Hand countered Fargo, noting that “we’ve been trying to do that for seven years. Nobody wants to give you inventory.” Hand also said that 75 percent of products are “soft goods” that simply don’t require boosts from descriptions and images

    Web - to - Store and Back Again?

    Below is an intersting study that CoolSavings did awhile ago. Basically, they were able to prove that consumers where able to be prompted online to take instore action, and as a result earn the ability to get rewards back online. This multi-merchant and multi-channel promotional test is key to understanding what it takes to motivate and guide shoppers along what can be a fragmented and complex shopping experience of crossing distribution channels. The major take away that I see from this is that this type of promotion must be easy for the consumer and offer a very clear path to action and results.
    From Internet Retailer 10-14-2004...

    A loyalty program that goes from web to store and back again

    An online promotion isn’t unusual. But how about a program that creates loyalty by driving consumers from the Internet to the store and back again, without requiring them to jump through multiple registration hoops? CoolSavings Inc. recently wrapped up a continuity program on a promotion involving Kroger, Quaker Oats Gatorade and ESPN. Shoppers entered the program online at participating Kroger retailer Web site. To enter, they provided their loyalty number and also had to be a member of Kroger`s Internet Coupons program, in which coupons selected at the Kroger web sites are automatically transferred to loyalty cards.

    Buying any participating Gatorade products while shopping with the Kroger loyalty card allowed the consumer to automatically earn points that could be redeemed for Gatorade/ESPN gear. In addition to raising category awareness and brand awareness within the category, it gave Kroger the opportunity to pursue another goal: that of driving consumers to That not only introduced them to the site, but by registering and using their Kroger card, it allowed Kroger to launch an ongoing interactive relationship with them over time, says CoolSavings CEO matt Moog.

    “Those consumers are now in the Kroger e-mail database, which CoolSavings manages for Kroger. Kroger is now able to identify their purchase behavior down to the product level. And using our technology, they can then target individual offers to those consumers using the electronic coupon infrastructure,” he says.

    While Moog didn’t disclose specific results, he did say the program met or exceeded its objectives and that the retailer and the brands are interested in exploring similar programs in the future. “They are extremely happy,” with program results, he says.

    Moog notes that grocery store sweepstakes and contests tied to specific products are typically implemented by requiring the consumer to cut something out – like a box top -- fill it out, and put it in the mail. On the other side, he points out, the process requires the fulfillment party to process what the consumer sends in, track and count it, and notify consumers by mail. “In this case, all the consumer had to do was register their frequent shopper card once,” Moog says. “They then get statements online telling them how much they have earned, and they can choose their award online and redeem online. It’s more effective for consumers and faster to launch and administer for the CPG brand.”

    Friday, March 24, 2006

    Searching For Items Online Leads To Offline Sales

    Below is an intersting study that comScore did that further helps prove the effectivness of W2S marketing. In this case, the vehicle being used in online search but I argue that much like other simular studies, the vehicle used could be interchanged with simular results. Overall, it's great to see a heavy weight like Google chimming in here to help further prove the point.

    Study suggests search marketing’s biggest ROI could be in offline sales

    A comScore Networks study sponsored by Google further quantifies what retailers already know: online search is a powerful driver of offline buying behavior. Of 83 million Americans tracked by comScore who searched at one of the 24 top search engines in November and December, 25% purchased an item relating to their query, and of that number, the majority – 63% -- completed that purchase offline.

    “Importantly, it’s clear from this study that the influence of search on offline buying behavior can often be responsible for the major portion of the overall financial return from investments in search marketing,” says James Lamberti, vice president of comScore Search Marketing Solutions.

    Of 11 product categories studied, offline buyer conversion was highest in the video game and consoles category, where 17% of searches converted and of that number 93% did so offline; and in the toys and hobbies category, where 42% of searchers converted and of that number 88% did so offline. In fact, across these categories and the categories of consumer electronics, and music/movies/videos, more than 80% of all conversions occurred offline.

    Other findings measured the latent effect of search on holiday purchasing. 56% of consumers` online holiday buying actually occurred in subsequent Internet sessions, not the session in which a search originated. Conversions off latent search, in which the purchase lagged the initial search, at 56% of consumers tracked were more common that direct conversions off search. Among product categories, conversions off latent search were greatest in the music, movies and video category, where they represented 77% of the buyers who’d searched; and the computer/ peripherals/PDA and the home and garden categories, where they represented 69% of buyers in each category. The study also determined that as a source of buying information, holiday buyers ranked online search second in importance only to physical stores.

    The data on offline buying behavior of those that had searched online came from an e-mail survey of a selected statistically significant sample of online consumers in comScore’s panel.

    ComScore executive John Miniati, is speaking at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition June 5-7 in Chicago on Who`s Online and How Do You Reach Them?

    Tuesday, March 21, 2006

    Is A Web Site's Content Restricted and Proprietary To The Site Operator?

    Within the ever advancing intellectual property (IP) field of the law, a new wrinkle has unfolded today. A court order recently issued against Cairo creates a precedent that a website's operator may have proprietary rights to the content posted on their site. This new directive could have long lasting and impactful repercussions across the web. For example, a search engine such as Google or Yahoo! may be restricted from accessing some sites if the web site operator does not want their unique and proprietary information indexed. Another aspect of this decision is that the terms and conditions that are posted on a website do in fact constitute an agreement with all visitors that choose to use the site. Again, this will have ongoing impacts to many different types of web companies, especially those that spider or index site content, and in turn profit from the re-distribution of that information / content.

    For more information on the exact court order, goto:

    Tuesday, March 07, 2006

    Google Begins Running Remnant Space ROP Ads

    Is the Sun-Times doing business with the Devil? It certainly seems so by the looks at a new trial program underway where Google is buying unused space in the Chicago paper and running relevant ads. Google (and for that matter, most of large online media players) have been really trying hard recently to further their inroads into all things local. This is a play that I don't think most people expected, but should be noticed. I for one am interested to see how this test turns out.

    To read the full atricle, goto:

    Thursday, March 02, 2006

    Young People Turn To Online As Source Of Shopping Info

    According to the Newspaper Association of America and a new February 2006 research report that the Dieringer Group published, younger consumers turn to online newspaper sites for local shopping information and this group of people sites this behavior as their thrid most popular destination (only behind weather and local entertainment) This is great news for the online comparative shopping and search players, specifcally those that have true local content.

    To see the full article, goto:

    Tuesday, January 17, 2006

    W2S Shoppers Spend 60% More Than eCommerce Shoppers

    Here's some (un)sourced research I found. It fits with general benchmarks that I have seen, but I do not know the specific creator of this information...


    Online shoppers are not only buying online, but using the internet as their major source of buying decisions, creating a new category of profitable shoppers (Web-to-Store) who are spending on average 60% more from Web to Shop than online or shop-based alone.

    Tracking Web - to - Store Conversion Rates

    Here is an interesting archive study that I just found. It discusses one research methodology for tracking W2S purchases. Since this study is over a year old, I really wonder if Wal-Mart is still leading these days, given that Target has made some large investments in this area. On such is the new concept they just launched called "More In Store" To check this new content area out that features exclusive in-store only content, go to:


    Wal-Mart, Target Vie for Web-to-Store Leadership - 3 Jun 2004 Internet Retailer:

    Wal-Mart tops Target in web-to-store sales, study says A Forrester study that looked at credit card data found that Wal-Mart leads retailers in its ability to convert online shoppers to bricks and mortar shoppers. This might also be skewed by the fact that Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the world, with big-box stores almost ubiquitous in many parts of the U.S., making many of these web-to-store connections coincidental. Target proved to be the retailer best at converting store visitors to web shoppers, with almost a quarter at least visiting its site.

    Web - to - Store Grows By 40% In 2005

    The number of web - to - store shoppers in 2005 grew by 40% This means that more shoppers are using online circualrs, catalogs, and ads to browse sales at their local stores. These impressive numbers also indicate that consumers continue to use the Web to research sales and shop locally more frequently, and that interest in viewing local sales information via the Web is rapidly growing. After all is said and done, this sort of research only validates the core principle of what W2S marketing is all about. It is exciting to see that the data proves what many had theorized for many years, in that people like to do their homework online but still want to do the legwork in-store.

    For more information on this research, please go to:

    Local Online Advertising And Search Are Taking Off

    The web - to - store market is red hot and at the center of it is local online advertising and local search. These two powerful marketing tools are rip for driving people into stores by providing consumers relevant and targeted information and offers about great deals in-store. By taking the local ads within a Newspaper and getting them placed online for additional distribution and reach, retailers have a real opportunity to reach those of us that don't take a daily paper. Better yet, these offers can be targeted based upon relevance and behavioral aspects. This allows a marketer to get the right offer in front of a consumer at the precise right time.


    Behind The Numbers: Growth Spurt for Local Ads
    by Lynn Russo, December 2005 OMMA issue

    For the first time since the Internet's birth, local online advertising is showing significant growth. The market is projected to finish the year 51.5 percent ahead of 2004 -- its largest boost in five years, according to Borrell Associates' 2006 Outlook report. Healthy growth will continue in 2006, if not quite as strongly, at 39.3 percent.

    "We've reached the tipping point," explains Kip Cassino, Borrell's director of research. "What typically causes this is people talking to each other and saying, 'I've been doing this and it's working,' and word spreads." Advertisers will have spent $4.1 billion online by the end of 2005 -- just 3.1 percent of the entire nearly $130 billion local advertising market. That figure is projected to grow to $5.7 billion in 2006 and $8.6 billion by 2010.

    Local paid search -- the largest local online category -- should grow 161 percent by 2006, to $906 million, and will account for nearly half of all local online advertising by 2010. Online promotion is the fastest-growing online segment, projected to reach more than $3 billion by the end of this year.

    Print and TV Most Vulnerable

    Newspapers garner nearly half (41 percent) of all local online advertising, while all remaining media sites combined -- television, radio, yellow pages, and local magazines -- capture just 27 percent.

    Newspapers and TV stations are vulnerable because they're selling online as a print add-on, without a dedicated online sales staff, and relying on established classified categories.

    "Local media sites with high market share tend to have dedicated online-only staffs, multiple revenue streams, and less dependence on classified categories," says Cassino.

    And a recent study by Sarah Farebrother, a University of Missouri-Columbia graduate student, found that online newspapers' classified ads don't exploit the Web's creative capabilities: photography, audio, video, and animation. Larger newspapers are more inclined to use instant messaging and e-mail.

    Not All Local Is Local

    Out-of-town pure-play Internet firms own 31.9 percent of the local online ad market. IAC Financial & Real Estate, for instance, leads with 180.2 percent growth in 2005, followed by Google with 95.6 percent.

    "Almost exclusively, our clients are national advertisers taking advantage of local search marketing opportunities," says Chris Copeland, partner and managing director of Outrider North America. Outrider's local search portfolio comprises retail, direct marketers, and e-commerce companies, but in the future, Copeland says he expects to see such local or regional groups as auto dealer associations or travel groups get on board.

    Copeland finds Borrell's local search numbers too optimistic: "In the traditional local market, someone purchases a yellow pages ad, the creative is done for you, the listing is put in the book, and you're done." The active auction model of search, on the other hand, demands "a level of engagement that most local businesses won't be willing to commit to." Copeland estimates that 70 percent or more local search advertising is done by national advertisers: "Unless those numbers change, we simply can't reach what the projections show."

    Why Surveys That Say eCommerce Is The Preferred Channel Are Wrong...

    Below is some published research that BizRate put out last year. It simply states that for those shoppers that are online, a majority of them stop off at a aggregator site first. I can believe that. What I can't believe is that anyone would imply that this research is represenative (given that it only has 923 respondents) of the overall consumer population. The survey sample is just too small to be meaningful. Also, there is this obscure fact that the revenue generated by off-line shopping equates to 96% of all dollars spent. This makes it really clear that what matters is store sales. Sure 4% of sales revenues comes from online channels, but retail brick-and-mortar establishments still command the market. The bottom line is all this research may be helpful in understanding the online consumer, the lessons it tells just do not equate to the off-line shopper.


    Survey Reveals That 71% of Internet Shoppers Find Better Value and More Special Offers Online Than Offline

    According to a recent BizRate survey conducted in early 2005 of 923 online buyers, consumers are flexing their wallets by aggressively searching online when looking for merchandise and deals, instead of shopping at tried and tested retail channels.

    Most consumers (59%) are starting their shopping at aggregator sites (search engines, comparison shopping sites, shopping portals and auction sites) versus going directly to a merchant's site and taking the first price offered. This represents a 13-percentage point consumer shift towards aggregator sites in less than three years*, when only 46% started shopping at aggregator sites and the majority (54%) of shoppers went straight to a merchant's site. This shift is probably because 87% of online shoppers are now comparing offerings of online retailers against catalog merchants and retail stores to find the best deals and items that are in-stock, with 71% of online shoppers reporting that they were able to find better sales and discount offers online than offline via a retail or catalog merchant.

    Comparison Shopping is Prevalent
    It is the American way to shop around, with 70% of respondents reporting they compare prices every time or most of the time they shop online, but some folks are still doing it the hard way. While 37% of online shoppers are very savvy and let a comparison shopping site do their deal-hunting for them, the majority (64%) still comparison shop the old-fashioned, time-consuming way by roaming from site to site looking for the best value. In fact, Internet shoppers will visit an average of four online retailers prior to choosing which site to buy from - while actively comparing prices (94%) - and then they visit the site of their choice an average of 2.61 more times before proceeding to checkout.

    Deal-Sensitive Categories and Other Methods Shoppers Use to Save Money
    Books and clothing tend to be the two most popular categories online shoppers deal- hunt the most. Other common ways to search for deals include signing-up for sale newsletters (36%) and just waiting for sales (22%). For 74% of consumers, the biggest deal leading to a purchase is receiving a free shipping deal, or a special offer.

    Good Value vs. Brand Loyalty
    Online shoppers are very rational when it comes to saving money. Forty-three percent will not pay extra from a retailer they like, if they can get it elsewhere for less. However, consumers exhibited a moderately high level of loyalty to their favorite brands with 34% of online shoppers reporting that they buy the same brand "most of the time" when shopping online, 62% reported buying the same brand "some of the time", and 1% reported buying their favorite brands "always."

    About the Study Methodology:
    The Online Shopper Deal Shopping and Value Panel Study, conducted by BizRate Research, a division of Shopzilla Inc., is based on a survey with a sample of 923 online shoppers from February 22-28, 2005. Survey respondents were selected from among a panel of 790,000 online shoppers. Respondents were 44% male, 56% female adults.
    * denotes same study conducted December 4-9, 2002.

    Note: All site data accurate at the time of issuing this press release.