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Search engines play important role in e-commerce, study finds

30 July 2010 - 12:03 by Graham Miller

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A report into the way that consumers carry out safe shopping online has found that many people still turn to a search engine to look up a product before they visit any retailer sites directly.

Analyst firm ComScore authored the report and it took answers from over 1000 consumers earlier in 2010. It asked respondents to list the steps they took to find products online and found that the first thing 18 per cent of people do is search using one of the many popular engines.

The biggest online retailers which have an established relationship with certain consumers still draw in 19 per cent of users when they begin looking for products It shows that consumers will look for a bargain online from a broad range of retailers, rather than immediately opting for a site they trust to offer safe shopping online.

If consumers do not visit retailers or use a search engine then they will head to the manufacturer's website straight away, with 13 per cent of respondents claiming that this was their first port of call.

Social networking sites are still a small part of e-commerce, as the survey revealed that only two per cent of consumers would use the likes of Facebook or Twitter to seek out products. But there is a chance that this could increase, as retailers and manufacturers learn to exploit social media to their advantage.

The ComScore study shows another interesting trend, as the number of people who research products on the internet and then head to the high street to make a purchase is falling. This means more people are buying online and trusting retailers to provide the product or service that they are selling with the same levels of security and aftercare that is expected from high street retailers.