December 6, 2006, 12:00 AM

Most holiday shoppers look for a specific item at a favorite site

When shopping for holiday gifts online, 54% of consumers surveyed chose to search directly for a specific item at a merchant site they like, according to a new report from The E-tailing Group Inc. and StartSampling Inc.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

When shopping for holiday gifts online, 54% of consumers search directly for a specific item at a merchant site they like, according to a new survey from consultants The E-tailing Group Inc. and StartSampling Inc. In comparison, 39% favor browsing multiple stores prior to completing a purchase, with 44% of that group typically comparison shopping three sites.

In addition, among search tools considered the most important when buying gifts online, 83% said keyword search; 63%, advanced search; and 52%, quick shop (entering a product number from a print catalog). Shoppers also favor tools that help them make more educated buying decisions, particularly those that enable comparisons or are customer-generated, the survey found. 62% said product comparison is “very or most important” when buying gifts online, followed by customer ratings and reviews (54%) and guides and how-to information (40%).

Consumers are shopping online this holiday season to save time and money, with the desire for deals dominating, according to the study. Promotional tools ranked most influential by shoppers when buying gifts online included free shipping (84%), sales/specials (77%), coupons/rebates (74%), free gift-with-purchase (62%) and limited-time deals (56%).

The survey also found that consumers may be tired of poor customer service. When ranking which customer service tools are “very to most important” when buying gifts online, 77% of shoppers said accessible contact information; 75%, a toll-free phone number; and 72%, live chat.

The report-“The Mindset of the Multi-Channel Shopper: Holiday 2006”-is based on a recent poll of 1,300 consumers.

 

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