Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Research shows link between paid search and product listings

The MediaPost News website has reported on new research by comScore which indicates that paid search rankings purchased by brands helps to improve product sales on retail sites. The results show that after searching for a product on a retail website, most shoppers will click the top results on the page and about 94% of shoppers click on the first 10 products to look for lower prices, key product features and preferred brands.

The article reports that the study aimed to determine whether search-ranking position secures a higher percentage of clicks. Since paid search through AdWords supports the core of Google's business model, the research wanted to discover if that business model carried through to retail site search and whether premium positions in search rankings drive a higher percentage of click share.

It turns out that consumers are twice as likely to use the site search box to find additional product category, brand or model information as to browse the initial landing page. While shoppers tend to vary the order, retail websites and search engines are typically either the first or the second step in the shopping process. The study suggests that retail websites are used as a source of price and brand options, promotions and sales. Many purchases also look for customer and expert reviews, price, and recommendations.

Landing listings at the top of the search ranking make it easier for consumers to find information about a company's products and services, and two-thirds of shoppers compare product and price information or read product descriptions on retail websites before making purchases. But while many begin the shopping process online, nearly half still purchase offline.

Although more consumers are beginning the process online, shoppers still want to see, touch and interact with the products in a physical store prior to purchase. Consumers turn to the online channel for ease of comparison, 61%; breadth of information, 47%; and convenience, 51%, while 62% of consumers admit that the physical stores provide the tactile in-person experience.

Of those shoppers who purchase offline, 57% say pricing is one of the main motivators for purchasing online, followed by free shipping at 57%, promotions and discounts at 50%, and item availability at 32%.

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