E-tailers are on the move

An increasing number of online buyers are shying away from alternate retail sources, according to a new study, which also notes that 50 per cent of all buyers are repeat purchasers.

Consumers are using electronic retailing outlets for purchases more frequently and are increasingly influenced by electronic marketing campaigns, says the 2006 Electronic Retailing Buyer Study, published annually by the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) of Washington, D.C.

This industry-wide study also revealed that e-retailing has become an increasingly reliable vehicle for driving repeat sales and shows evidence that debunks the assertion that e-marketing hurts branding efforts.

ERA tracks consumer buying behavior across multiple marketing channels and gauges the effectiveness of various e-marketing campaigns every year with Ellison Research, a marketing research company in Phoenix. The results of this year’s study were extrapolated from a random sample of 600 respondents.

The report provides direct marketers with the pulse of rapidly evolving consumer preferences, specifically consumer demand for more comprehensive information for infomercials on television programming guides. It also shows timidity towards emerging technology such as interactive television and cell phone video marketing capabilities, although popularity for such technology continues to grow among younger consumers.

Of concern to direct-to-consumer retailers and marketers is the data showing consumer trust in Internet and TV infomercials falling from last year, as consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with the security of using credit or debit cards online or over the phone.

Barbara Tulipane, ERA president and CEO, said these findings reinforce just how robust and evolving the industry is and needs to be.

Key findings of the report include:

— The proportion of adults using electronic retailing channels remains at 46 per cent for the second year in a row with an average age of 47.1 years and a median income of US$56,983 and roughly half claiming a college degree.

— 50 per cent of consumers say they have watched an infomercial in the past three months.

— Over 50 per cent of all buyers would definitely consider purchasing again through electronic retailing channels in the future.

— Like traditional advertising, the electronic retailing landscape is fragmented. Approximately seven to eight out of 10 radio, home shopping and television infomercial buyers use multiple electronic retailing sources to purchase products, while use of multiple channels was least common among online consumers.

— For marketers and retailers, cross promotion is key: 60 per cent of online consumers, 42 per cent of radio buyers, 32 per cent of TV infomercial consumers and 21 per cent of home shopping consumers say they saw the product promoted in another medium (most commonly in stores or catalogs, through TV commercials, magazines and/or newspaper ads) before buying it.

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