I found the results of What People Buy Online vs. in Stores fascinating. I'd love to see something that showed trending over time, so I'll have to keep my eyes open for results in years to come. As the world becomes increasingly more connected online, I imagine these numbers will continue to shift in favor of making purchases online.
I did find the software results a little surprising. There is nearly a 50/50 split between computer hardware and software purchased online and at retail stores. I would have expected a larger percentage of purchases in this category to be made online, similar to what is seen with other electronics.
I imagine consumers perceive software products as more legitimate or reliable when seen inside retail stores because they fear online products come from fly-by-night businesses that will be gone tomorrow, or maybe consumers don’t feel comfortable buying something so intangible. On the other hand, consumers who do buy online recognize the ease and immediacy of being able to download an application and have a solution instantly. For example, the software utilities we provide at NCH Software download and install, in most cases, in under a minute. That means you can install a program like Prism Video Converter to convert a troublesome movie file that won’t play on your computer before you could so much as make it out your driveway to go to the store in search of a solution.
Until late last year, 100% of NCH Software sales were made online. We are still new to the retail market and our retail presence is still actively growing, so I am curious to see where the split will be in our overall software sales once we are more firmly established in retail stores. Shoppers in the U.S. can currently find Golden Records, Express Invoice as well as software suites of our audio, video and burning software utilities in stores, with additional products including dictation/transcription software, Inventoria, WavePad, VideoPad, and FlexiServer also being added to the mix. Will we eventually see half our sales being made through retail stores, or will retail sales settle at a lower percentage as more customers migrate to online purchasing? I guess only time will tell.