The NYT has a short and sweet piece on how online shoppers conduct their searches.
Most prepurchase searches use only generic terms, like “hard drive.” Consumers tend to make these searches early on, and then conduct a small flurry of brand-name queries right before buying
At Fortune Interactive, we’re heavily focused on the different stages of an online buying cycle, so this story is a nice reminder for everyone focusing purely on the buy-stage words.
Also important to remember that once the online research is completed, most buyers don’t immediately make a purchase. They could come back to a site weeks later or even make their purchase at a physical store.