Online shopping update

Two pieces of retail research news today: no mention of social networks, just shops selling goods to customers.

The Times has:

Online sales of groceries are predicted to double over next five years  Sarah Butler

“The amount of groceries sold over the internet is expected to double in the next five years, according to new research that suggests that one in ten shoppers will no longer visit a supermarket by 2012.

“IGD, the grocery market research organisation, predicts that sales of groceries online will reach £5 billion in five years’ time, although this will still be a small fraction of the £156 billion expected value of the total grocery market. At present only 2 per cent of groceries are sold online and that would rise to just over 3 per cent by 2012, according to the IGD’s figures.

“Grocery retailers said that they believed IGD’s predictions were conservative and that online grocery sales, which are increasing by about 30 per cent a year, could double within the next three years.  […]

“Tesco, by far the biggest online grocer in the UK, sells £1.23 billion of groceries online – about 3½ times the level achieved five years ago. Last year its online grocery sales rose by about 30 per cent.
Those sales make up nearly 5 per cent of Tesco’s UK business”

while the FT has:

Affluent flock to online stores  By Tom Braithwaite

“London’s affluent commuter belt boasts the UK’s largest number of home shopping devotees as cash-rich, time-poor consumers flock to the internet. Two-thirds of home shopping hotspots are now in the home counties, while the north and Scotland lag behind, on a list compiled by Experian.

“The data research company found Sunningdale in Berkshire had vaulted to the top of this year’s list, overtaking Barnes in south-west London, with an average spend of £137 a head in the 12 months to June. Two-thirds of the top 100 towns were within commuting distance of London, while 77 per cent were in the south.

“Overall home shopping spend increased by 15 per cent in 2006-07 as more retailers launched transactional websites, broadband penetration increased and consumers became more web savvy.”

brands, internet, advertising, budgets

The FT reports the IAB’s study that shows car manufacturers advertising online more often, encouraged by the higher share of 50+ and female users.

Financial services are the next largest spenders: search advertising takes up the lions’ share of spend, with paid search accounting for much of that, and growing at 40% year on year, with online advertising being worth 14.7% of all UK ad spend.

Meanwhile BT Broadband picks different bones out of the same IAB report, highlighting how brands can be built more effectively online

They’re quite right to pick up on how Innocent Drinks deliver thier brand online. It’s beautiful, accessible, real. In an online world where business’ reputations are judged by personal and social network’s experience of a company, it’s important to keep the brand on a human scale.

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Techcrunch on social networks/local search in the UK

’tis the new big thing: local search + social network recommendations.

Actually, I saw a broadsheet Sunday newspaper quoting research that ‘we’ trust our friends’ and communities’ restaurant  recommendations more than we trust professional restaurant reviewers – so maybe there’s something in this social networking, reviews, and local search thing?!

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Customer research

For as long as it has mattered, Surveymonkey has been the benchmark web survey tool. Others, such as SurveyShack (which has excellent business research tools, including staff appraisals) and Zoomerang, work well for users, deliver good results, and have sustainable businesses.

The press for surveygizmo suggests that there might be a new benchmark challenger on the block.

And we’ll see more services like this: customer friendly sites that encourage feedback. Easy for the marketing/management team to setup & extract information from. And easy for customers to give feedback when they’ve something to say, rather than when the company chooses to ask.