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Business Consulting For The 21st Century Via A Holistic & Intelligent Approach

One or two purchases does not a pattern make

Answered => “How much is a in-store visit worth to a retailer?” on Quora.

=> My answer…

I’m not so sure I agree with Jeremy Bergstein. He said, “I would love to see a comparison of ‘volume per order’ in the online vs instore environment.”

Really? It sounds like apples and oranges to me. Interesting? Perhaps. But none the less probably not something to drive important decisions with.

Two constrains would seem to be:

1) Geography. That is, travel distance to store probably – we’ll have to look at the data – has an effect on online v offline purchases. There’s also the issue of living in places where product options are limited. For example, I might have little or no choice but to buy my laptop online.

2) Impulse buys – Few are those who “walk” into (for example) and make an impulse purchase. Yet a CD or a candy bar is going to pull down the in-store average, yes? And the online laptop drive that average up. I don’t think these are far fetched scenarios.

3) I would think context is essential. That is, did the guest buy elsewhere or not at all? Most purchases have accessories – where and when were those purchased?

Are there patterns in in-store vs online? Yes, I would think that there must be. That said, the perspective of the question seems skewed to me. It’s based on the brands perspective and not the customers’. People make different purchases for different reasons on different days for different product types, etc. True B&M and online might be a constant but how does that factor into the purchase decision. I would just be mindful of not drawing conclusions that are closer to coincidence. Moi? I would prefer to understand who and why than where. If I can wrap my head around motivation then perhaps I can use that to drive sales.

Please don’t misinterpret my devil’ advocate position here. It’s as much about questioning authority (so to speak) as it is about spurring conversation. I certainly could be off-base. I’m only on my third sip of coffee.

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