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Ecommerce in Germany increases quality of advice

German consumers increasingly rely on information they found online when they want to make a purchase in-store of via the Internet. As a matter of fact, 41% of all information that’s relevant to purchasing decisions now comes from digital media.  But the Internet does not only give relevant information, it also delivers better recommendations than the trusted dealer around the corner. Stationary retailers are warned!

Ecommerce already created a major challenge for stationary retailers all over the world, but up to now the conventional retailers could differentiate themselves from ecommerce through high quality advice. However, a new study [pdf], from the University of Munster and Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, shows that the Internet often delivers better recommendations than the offline retailer around the corner or on the high street.

The importance of online information
But product information is not the only reason consumers turn to their electrical devices, retailing and marketing expert Egbert Wege sees the same development in actual purchases as well. A total of 41% of all non-routine purchases now take place digitally. And for travel, entertainment, electronics, and public utility services, digital sources provide even more than 60% of all purchase-relevant information. Information from digital sources is of limited importance for groceries (14%) and services from small/local businesses (19%).

Purchase decisions in Germany

The figure above shows that consumers use three primary sources of information for making their purchasing decisions: stationary information “on site”, like POS information or personal salesmanship; online information collected on websites (24.7%) and social media networks; and “offline” recommendations from family and friends.

The research also states that 51% of German internet users both explicitly search for information online and visit a store before making a purchase. “An efficient design and interplay between online and offline information channels can be considered an important success factor for retailing in Germany”, the authors write.

Purchase decisions in Germany