Yahoo & comScore: online 'pre-shoppers' spend more

Exposure to online advertising is fundamentally changing the way consumers shop, according to new research from Yahoo and comScore that examined the impact of search and display advertising on in-store sales for five major retailers, MarketingCharts reports.

Consumers exposed to online advertising tend to research, or "pre-shop," online prior to purchase, and this behavior ultimately leads to increased in-store sales, the study found: Pre-shoppers spend an average of 41 percent more in-store compared with consumers not exposed to online advertising.

"Although recent research cites 89 percent* of consumers shop for information about products online, less than 7 percent** of retail sales actually take place online," said Amy Vener, Senior Director of Retail Category at Yahoo "This means retailers have a prime opportunity to engage this audience of 'pre-shoppers' through online advertising to capture incremental sales in-store."

Insights from the study also included the following:

* Consumers exposed to online advertising are more engaged: Consumers exposed to display and/or search advertising viewed an average of six more pages during the period in which they were researching compared with those not exposed to advertising.

* Almost 90 percent of the incremental sales generated by online advertising take place in-store: Consumers exposed to online advertising spent an incremental six dollars in-store for every one dollar spent online.

* Integrated search and display campaigns have maximum impact: Combined search and display ad campaigns resulted in deeper engagement for consumers exposed to those ads, leading to increased sales.

The Yahoo/comScore study, conducted from April 2006 to January 2007, involved a sample of more than 175,000 comScore panelists and compared the purchasing behavior of those exposed to online advertising with the behavior of those who were not exposed, but who were otherwise behaviorally and demographically identical. The panelists' in-store purchases were tracked at five major retail stores representing diverse retail segments, including major national department stores, a major apparel retailer and a major supplier of office products.

*BIG Research 2007

**Forrester State of Retailing Online 2007

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