Most Retail Sites Have Offline Counterparts

Four in five retail Web sites have offline business counterparts, and online retailers still use offline marketing techniques to create traffic to their sites, according to a report by ActivMedia.

Most Commonly Used
Offline Sales Channels
Print advertising 44.0%
Personal sales 42.7%
Direct mail
Printed catalog 31.5%
Retail store 28.5%
800 number 26.1%
Sales reps,
affiliate marketing
Online sales exclusively 19.7%
Broadcast media 13.3%
Outbound calling 8.3%
Source: ActivMedia

According to the report “Real Numbers Behind the Online Retail Industry,” Web retailers use print catalogs, direct mail operations, phone banks, and direct sales representatives to collaborate their online and offline efforts.

“Among our respondents with both an online and offline sales presence, 54 percent report a substantial two-way synergy between brick-and-mortar and cyberspace,” said ActivMedia VP of market research Harry Wolhandler. “ remains more the high-visibility exception rather than the rule as offline marketing muscle and existing communications programs prove their worth in attracting and maintaining new business.”

According to ActivMedia, the number of business domains rose to 720,000 by early 1999, up from 411,000 in 1998. The majority of online companies has just one domain, but the average is six, according to ActivMedia. Much of the growth in business domains has come from outside the US as sites organize globally.

Consumer-oriented Web sites continue to comprise half of all publicly listed Web sites, ActivMedia found. Nearly half of the consumer sites surveyed are now profitable, with another 29 percent anticipating profitability within the next two years. ActivMedia also found that more companies are now intending to generate a profit online, and companies are making stronger commitments to conducting business on the Web in the future.

ActivMedia’s report is based on research conducted among global executives and managers responsible for Web site business and marketing decision making.

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