April 30, 2009, 12:00 AM

Channel Shift

(Page 2 of 2)

My hope is that fear of the dwindling impact of printed circulars will propel retailers to aggressively drive consumers to their online circulars, and that retailers will learn that they can indeed track the effectiveness of their online promotional efforts to a great degree. Further, I hope that this provides bricks-and-mortar retailers with tangible proof that the Internet provides a significant, traceable opportunity to grow their businesses. In turn, this should lead retailers to look more closely at how their other online efforts, such as their own web site, online promotions, and search engine marketing, impact their offline sales.

I’ve got little doubt that this is how things will play out. The big question in my mind is whether this will take three years or 20.

Ken Cassar is vice president, industry insights, at The Nielsen Co. He can be reached at kenneth.cassar@nielsen.com.

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