Consumers use e-commerce websites to supplement their offline shopping needs

Growth in the e-commerce market has given customers a variety of avenues to acquire their favorite products. For businesses, however, it’s hard to analyze exactly where their sales come from and whether or not an online and brick-and-mortar presence can be mutually beneficial to future growth.

Consumers are moving toward a blend of offline shopping supplemented by a period of online research. While online sales have been on the rise, only 15 percent of Americans make purchases online on a weekly basis, according to a study from the PEW Research Center. About 45 percent of Americans have used a cellphone within a physical store in order to look at reviews or other product information. Consumers have long relied on the ability to get recommendations and reviews, hence the rise of websites like Yelp! and FourSquare.

 

On the other hand, some consumers are more skeptical than others when it comes to the validity of online reviews. According to the same PEW Research Study,48 percent of U.S. consumers believe it’s often hard to tell if online reviews are truthful and unbiased.Consumers more often than not will use websites to compare prices and products and then visit stores to get a reassurance of product quality before committing to a purchase. Even if shoppers don’t directly purchase from a website, businesses benefit from empowering their customers with the tools to do their own research and be confident in their purchase.

Such buying habits don’t necessarily adhere strictly along generational lines. A study conducted by RetailDive found 26 percent of U.S. adults frequently research products online prior to shopping for them in brick-and-mortar stores. The report then emphasizes the importance of a “compelling digital experience.” Certain things can improve the customer’s researching or shopping experience to create a seamless omni-channel shopping experience.

Dirxion online catalogs give businesses a strong tool to allow their customers to do their own research. The search feature allows users to find the exact product they’re looking for without having to search through tabs and pages of results. Dirxion’s integration capabilities can bring a business’s existing e-commerce website into the catalog. Customers are able to interact with linked images that open to Quick Views or iFrames of the e-commerce site. Customers can then read pictures, look through photos and even add to their cart without having to leave the online catalog.

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Google faces fines following EU investigation of online shopping service

Earlier this week, Google found themselves face-to-face with a $2.7 billion fine from the EU antitrust division following a seven-year investigation. The investigation was centered on Google’s search engine algorithm techniques and concluded the company “abused its market dominance” by giving an “illegal advantage” to its own shopping service.

While the fine is aimed at Google’s online shopping comparison feature, the EU’s fine adds to an ongoing list of international antitrust issues. In Brazil, Microsoft claims Google stifled competition in online advertising and the Korea Fair Trade Commission currently investigates whether Google forces Android smartphone makers in South Korea to pre-load their search engines into the devices.

“What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules. It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation.”
Margrethe Vestager, EU competition commissioner

Current search engine practices involve a mix of paid advertising, through Google AdSense or Google Ads, and organic search engine optimization practices (SEO). With SEO, website and e-commerce platform builders can attempt to drive traffic to their website by including content and keywords that users are currently interested in. Google AdSense and Google Ads allows companies to engage in a more “pay-to-play” market, where Google places targeted ads within their search engine results and other websites to drive traffic to a particular website.

Google refuted the claims by the EU, stating in a post on “The Keyword,” Google’s blog, that the company’s current practices of displaying shopping links in search results benefits advertisers and users alike. The company claimed revolution and innovation from product comparison sites such as Amazon has lead to a decrease in competition within that market.

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In response to the claims by the EU, industry analysts predict Google might have to change their search engine algorithms altogether or intentionally display links from the competition. A coalition of Google’s competitors formed “Focus On The User”in order to pursue lobbying efforts within the EU to put harsher conditions and restrictions on Google’s search engine and algorithm practices.

Dirxion online catalogs offer SEO guide pages that involves a process of indexing every page of the printed catalog. This practice helps boost the overall SEO of the online catalogs site, as well as increase the likelihood of someone finding a catalog page when searching for specific products.The Dirxion team keeps up with the changing landscape of Google’s search engine algorithm.

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