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Consumer Multichannel Shopping Behaviors

According to Nielsen Online the Web plays an increasingly integral role in retail for brick and mortar retailers, even among purchases that occur in-store.

A Nielsen survey in May 2008 found that among a representative group of people who had recently made consumer electronics (CE) purchases in a brick and mortar store, 80 percent bought from a store whose Web site they visited first. Further, 53 percent purchased from the retailer on whose Web site they had spent the most time.

While the benefits of online sales have long been apparent to retailers, the ability of the Internet to drive off-line sales is now rising to the fore.

Among consumer electronics purchasers, 58 percent indicated that if they had only one channel in which to do product research prior to purchase, they would choose the Internet, compared with only 25 percent that would choose to be able to do research in a brick and mortar store.

"A strong Web presence with broad and deep online content is critical for all retailers, including brick and mortar stores," said Ken Cassar, vice president, industry insights, Nielsen Online.

Surprisingly, the industry that retailers should look to for guidance on multichannel integration is the media industry, which has embraced the notion of content portability, allowing their consumers to easily consume content wherever they are with whatever device they prefer.

Retailers that are able to facilitate consumer multichannel shopping behaviors will enjoy growth in market share across the enterprise.

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