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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

UPDATE: Do consumers prefer online or in-store?

Observation:  A Research Brief story this morning asserts that consumers prefer online over in-store shopping.  Click here to see it.

Implications:   I fear that the data cited in the RB story does not go far enough; or perhaps it gives a right answer to the wrong question.  As I’ve been discussing in recent posts, the consumer does not necessarily want to choose between online or in-store.  They want multiple channels available to them, and they want to use the channel that suits them best at any given moment.  If the purchase is a no-brainer, they want to get it done fast.  If the item is one of complexity, they want to hold the product in their hand, and perhaps talk to someone knowledgeable about that product.

Blanket statements can get you into trouble.  Consumers purchase preference are likely to depend on the personality of the buyer, the personality of the product, and the circumstances which bring the two together.

[For more on this matter, see “Target:  Showrooming” from 4/5/12, or “Showrooming” from 3/2/12.]

Mike Anderson, for the Elm Street Economics consumer trends blog. A service of The Center for Sales Strategy, Inc.

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