It's arguably the premise of local search, and a comScore study with Yahoo gives some interesting insight to the "search online, buy offline" behavior. They examined five major retailers, including JC Penney, national department and apparel stores, and a major office supplies outlet.

They have some very compelling points regarding these type of consumers being more engaged, and how they spend more incrementally than if they made a purchase online.

The study focuses more on products than services, but the concept can apply to both. If you're looking for a lawn mower, you might be doing quite a bit of research before you decide on a local dealer. If you're looking for a quick and easy haircut, you might just be searching online for the nearest location.

As a consumer, there have been countless times when searching online and purchasing offline has benefited myself (and the local businesses I've visited because of it) for the same points explained in the comScore/Yahoo study.

Let's turn this to you. Do you research products or local services online before you purchase offline, and how much do you research beforehand?

August 8, 2007

Paul Jahn is the owner of Localmn Interactive Marketing, a Minnesota-based Internet marketing company. Localmn focuses on helping local companies large and small leverage the most out of their search marketing campaigns depending on their respective needs, including SEO, PPC, local search, and social media campaigns. Paul also runs and contributes to the Localmn local search blog.

With over ten years of Internet marketing experience, Paul has particular expertise in search marketing, with extensive knowledge of local search.


I just did a training with our online sales staff about this topic. I read a few reports that found 20% - 30% of all brick and mortar retail sales started online. Other industries are higher as over 80% of real estate purchases/searches start online. It’s all about research, gathering other opinions and comparison.

I personally research just about anything over $50 online, from product to dining to travel. I probably spent about 40 hours online researching and comparing my plasma TV purchase last year … I probably could have published my findings into a small book. Amazing, great topic Paul.

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