Posted August 29, 2012 10:24 am by with 0 comments

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Let’s be careful with this one kids. If you like sensational headlines that suck you in and don’t tell the whole story this could have read something like “Retailer Websites Most Critical in Purchasing Process” but instead we decided to give you the real deal. Less sexy we realize but oftentimes the real story is never as sexy as we need it to be.

But as for the power of websites in certain categories to deliver purchasing punch, Compete did some research looking at the grocery, health and beauty, household essentials and pet supply verticals and found the website reigns supreme (thanks to eMarketer for chart).

This is interesting but it raises a few questions.

The first one that comes to my mind is exactly how someone got to the retailer site in the first place. If they are familiar with the retailer and use them all the time that’s easy to understand. But what if the consumer was searching not only for products but also the best retailer to buy those said products from? Doesn’t that make search engines or social media even more important in this overall equation?

Attribution is a sticky subject for sure. We all want it to be clean and direct but it rarely, if ever, is. This is a reality of the current state of online marketing that we are going to have to either embrace or simply relax with as quickly as possible. The last thing we need to happen is that in a rush to provide some cause and effect reporting to appease people upstream we simply attribute a purchase to the most obvious, or nearest, channel. This could give too much weight to something that only played a small part in the full process that gets a prospect from research to purchase.

How do you handle attribution tracking? Is it ever a straight line from one point to the next or is more like a dotted line with a few stops here and there?

We would love to hear from you!