Retail buyers search on generic versus branded keywords

Recent research from GroupM Search suggests that retail brands should develop marketing strategies to reach buyers through generic search terms. The 13 month study provided an in-depth look at the relationship between consumer search behavior and in-store purchases. Top retailers were featured in the study, including RadioShack, luxury Audi, and a national entertainment brand.

The research makes it clear that shoppers have established search as their key resource for product discovery and buying decisions. According to Chris Copeland, CEO, GroupM, “This new understanding of the retail shopper represents a behavioral shift. The intent shown in search provides brands and opportunity to maximize their online revenues and encourage and cultivate in-store sales.”

Although paid search on a brand name is a valuable mechanism for driving website traffic, marketers may be overlooking the power of generic terms and organic listings. The new research shows that 86% of buyers who purchase in-store search on generic terms versus brand terms. In addition, the research revealed that when consumers search online and click on a link, 90% of those clicks are on organic search listings.

With such a high percentage of shoppers clicking on organic link results, Copeland suggests that many brands and retailers may want to rethink their strategies, and find ways to connect with buyers.

Another that brands may want to connect with relevant in-market shoppers is through search retargeting. Take a look at SEM – its about being present when the customer begins researching their decision, the beginning of the funnel and when they execute a sale, at bottom of the funnel. However, search retargeting is about being present during the consideration phase, after the customer has raised their hand, signaling intent within the search engine.

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