Study Finds Amazon Beats Google as a Starting Point for Product Searches

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

market-research-conceptThere’s no denying that Google is a giant in the world of search and SEO. More than half of all searches in the U.S. happen on Google, and globally, the number is even higher. However, looking at what search engine has the highest share of every search may be obscuring something. According to a recent study, when specifically looking at where people start their search for product information, Amazon is used more frequently than Google.

To be fair, this comes from an extremely small-scale study (when compared to the data pulled by researchers from comScore) of 1,000 U.S. consumers performed by PowerReviews, a provider of ratings, reviews and question-and-answer technology. The study, title  Mapping the Path to Purchase: How Today’s Consumers Navigate the Shopping Journey, focused on where and how people start and finish their product research.

According to the report, nearly two in five (38%) of surveyed consumers reported starting their shopping journey on Amazon, citing variety of products (79 percent), free shipping (64 percent), and better deals (62 percent) as key factors.

Google wasn’t beat by much. The report found that more than one in three (35%) of shoppers choose to begin their purchase journey at a search engine and more than half of these shoppers (52 percent) click through to Google Shopping results.

Whether they use Amazon or Google, a large percentage of people do the same thing after their initial search. The study also found that after conducting a search, shoppers go to a retail site or Amazon in equal numbers (41 percent each).

The company suggests that Amazon’s features make it a better starting portal for many shoppers, and that companies can use this to their advantage.

“The better brands and retailers understand the path to purchase, the better equipped they are to attract shoppers and deliver a user experience that drives conversion,” said Matt Moog, CEO of PowerReviews in a blog post. “In this study, we found that while many consumers choose Amazon because of its variety of products, low prices and free shipping, retailers and brands can effectively leverage user-generated content, including ratings and reviews and Q&A, to offer a superior shopping experience that wins consumers and grows advocacy.”

The report also points out the need for reviews and testimonials on a retailer’s website. As has been discussed in previous articles on this site, people turn to reviews for advice and will look for a different product or website if there isn’t enough feedback to make a decision. In a sea of products and brands, consumers are looking for verification that the product or brand they’re researching is legitimate.

According to the PowerReviews, shoppers will turn to a search engine (45%), Amazon (40%) or another brand or retailer (20%) if there aren’t enough reviews. Business owners should encourage their happy customers to leave reviews on the brand’s website, Facebook page or anywhere they like. And whenever possible, it’s wise to create a testimonials and endorsement pages.

This study was too small to lead to any sweeping changes to a retailer’s marketing plan regarding ads on Google versus ads on Amazon. However, business owners who are already using Amazon may want to consider updating their listing and possibly consider some advertising. And all businesses should do more to promote their positive reviews and testimonials.

For more recent news about marketing, read this article on how many small businesses don’t have websites.


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