Study: The Purchase Path of Online Buyers

The Purchase Path of Online Buyers is a recently released joint shopping study between Forrester Research and GSI Commerce. The study looks at 15 retail websites during the 2010 holiday season to better understand how retailers can effectively connect with online buyers.

This report looks at:

  • Why online shoppers still follow “traditional” paths to purchase
  • How to effectively influence shoppers during the
    holiday season
  • Recommendations to help you plan for 2011 Holiday

Among the findings, social media rarely leads directly to purchases online. Less than 2% of orders were the result of shoppers coming from a social network during the period between November 12 and December 20, 2010.

What does seem to work, says the report, is more traditional online marketing, including email and search advertising. Most consumers in the study were exposed to some form of marketing by the retailers before they made their purchase. 70% of transactions in hard goods categories (like lawnmowers) and 82% in soft goods categories (i.e. clothing) occurred after the consumers had engaged in some interactive marketing tactic before their purchase. 40% of hard goods transactions and 60% of soft goods transactions came to retail websites directly from email and search

The report is free (in exchange for some personal information):

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn /