We search online and yet, we often buy offline

e-commerceThe study performed for Google by TNS Infratest among 2,000 Belgian web users aged 15 and up once again proves how important it is for a company to have its own website. It was indeed observed that nearly 40 % of web users search the net for information before purchasing a product. Not only will an online purchase ensue in 39 % of these cases, but in 61 % of the cases, the product is purchased in a real store.

Trips, which are part of a sector in which web users like to search for information before planning their journey, are a good example of this. 72 % of users who purchased a trip had gathered information on Internet beforehand. Nevertheless, 28 % still bought their trip in a real travel agency. Web users will mostly go to a travel agency for “all in” trips, while plane tickets for leisure purposes and hotel rooms are generally booked online. The products that are most often bought offline are cars and computer hardware.

How do web users search their information? 74 % resort to search engines and 56 % look for information on the manufacturers’ websites. If web users want information on a specific product, 33 % will visit websites where prices are compared. For extra information on products, web users generally put more trust in the opinion of other ordinary users than in the opinion of experts: 27 % visit sites on which other consumers express their opinion on products, while 23 % will browse through sites that publish professional reviews.

This study has brought a few other points to light, which could be important elements allowing professional Internet salespeople to gain web users’ trust. 67 % of web users put more trust in a website that also mentions a Belgian phone number, 63 % feel more confident if there is a subsidiary or store in their neighbourhood and 63 % find the presence of user comments a sign of reliability.