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Internet Influences In-Store Sales

The Internet’s influence over in-store CE purchasing decisions is growing rapidly, a new study of Best Buy, Circuit City and CompUSA shoppers shows.

According to the Summer RetailFluency Report, issued last month by the CMO Council, a marketing trade group based here, more than half of 322 shoppers queried as they left the CE stores said they had consulted the Internet before making their purchases there.

The exit poll, which was commissioned by Yahoo! and fielded by The ConsumerEdge Research Group, indicated that half of the group spent one to three hours conducting their research online.

The poll was conducted outside Best Buy, Circuit City and CompUSA stores during the Father’s Day/Graduation period last summer.

According to the CMO Council, the study suggests that Internet research helps solidify brand awareness, increases product influence and can drive in-store traffic — all affirmed by the importance that retailers like Best Buy and Circuit City place on their multichannel strategies.

Among key findings:

  • In-store sales associates were the most influential information source for 49 percent of shoppers polled, followed by in-store demonstrations (36 percent), family and friends (33 percent), newspapers (25 percent), and the Internet (21 percent). Magazines, TV and radio were at the bottom of the list, all with less than 5 percent.
  • Newspapers, the only traditional media channel figuring prominently in driving buyer behavior, exert influence primarily via coupon offers, retail location listings and editorial reviews.