Early this week I highlighted a study that revealed the fast march by manufacturers to move their marketing online. One part of this effort includes spending more money on Web sites. A Channel Intelligence Inc. and Forrester Research Inc. survey indicates that while consumers do purchase products at manufacturer Web sites, this channel has the potential to rise as a marketing tool.1189107_mail_in_a_box

According to the survey, about 4 in 10 consumers purchase a product they see on a manufacturer’s site. For those that make a purchase, here’s how the channels break out:

  • Purchased at manufacturer’s site 7%
  • Purchased at a store 52%
  • Purchased from online site found on manufacturer’s site 29%
  • Purchased from online site not found on manufacturer’s site 12%

The survey results may have been a bit of a surprise to manufacturers because 14% of consumers start their search at a manufacturer site with the intent to buy direct. Study analysts are encouraging manufacturers to improve the user experience on Web sites specifically by:

  • Developing improved product pages
  • Improving customer service on the site
  • Emphasizing the community experience for consumers who are brand loyalists
  • Simplifying the path to purchase

While these changes may not increase sales at manufacturer Web sites, they will increase sales overall as consumers will find it easier to purchase exactly what they’re looking for.

[Source: Manufacturers’ sites bring them in, Internet Retailer, 7.28.09]