Ernst & Young: Merchant Focus Too Narrow

By Michael Bush

By using sales as the sole gauge of Web commerce, industry experts are missing the Internet’s ability to drive consumer purchases to other distribution channels, concluded an Internet shopping report released last week by Ernst & Young, New York.

According to the study, while 32 percent of consumers with online access buy products over the Internet and only 4 percent make more than 10 purchases a year, 64 percent research products online and then buy them through traditional channels.

Also, 90 percent of the respondents said that online research is valuable for future purchasing decisions. Fifty-six percent said they like the Web’s ability to offer comparison shopping.

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