Armed with Online Research, Consumers Get Thrifty In-Store

Informed Shoppers Keep Advertisers on their Toes

Brightly colored cardboard displays at the grocery store may no longer be enough to entice consumers to buy. According to WSL Strategic Retail, a retail consulting firm, more shoppers are researching mundane products, such as detergent and beverages, online before purchasing them in-store.

According to Booz & Co., more than 60% of shoppers say they look for deals online for at least half of all shopping trips. The trend is pushing advertisers to go beyond traditional marketing techniques to appeal to the informed thrifty shopper.  The response has been dynamic campaigns, spanning social networking sites and the blogosphere, offering coupons as well as incentives for writing product reviews.

The "know before you go" attitude is not new to retailers peddling high price tag items like electronics, but sellers of staple products are entering unfamiliar territory. Wal-Mart is taking its business to a new level, testing an online grocery delivery service in California. The service, called "Wal-Mart To Go," is one way the company is trying to integrate online and in-store activities. Wal-Mart is also now customizing its online circulars, taking into consideration specific shoppers' interests.