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Online research drives offline retail sales – a trillion dollar opportunity?

I just ran across this post on TechCrunch which does a nice job of summarizing a recent Forrester report that projects the growth of online retail.  The stat that jumped out at me was not the $155 billion of consumers goods bought online last year but the $917 billion worth of retail sales that were web influenced. Ever since my days at CoolSavings where we focused on using coupons to drive sales both online and offline I had developed a rule of thumb that for every dollar in sales that a promotion drove online it drove five dollars in sales offline.  Now with such a high percentage of consumers doing research online before they buy and also receiving promotional offers and sales notices, it is not surprising  but still significant to learn that there is a 7x multiplier.  For all of those retailers and manufacturers out there who judge the ROI of their ad campaigns by online sales alone, this makes pretty clear you are significantly underestimating the impact that online acitivity has on in store purchases.


Forrester chart of web influenced sales