Natural Search Blog


Searching for brick-and-mortar retailers?

Data now out from Nielsen//NetRatings shows that the top five most popular shopping search terms for April were all brick-and-mortar retailers:

  1. “home depot”
  2. “walmart”
  3. “target”
  4. “sears”
  5. “best buy”

SearchEngineWatch Blog then arrived at the conclusion that:

These are people who likely have done their research and are now looking for physical/local stores to buy what it is they want.

I disagree. I think most Americans already know where their local Home Depot is. Instead, these searchers are looking to buy online. Some will opt for in-store pickup (which both Sears and Best Buy offer). Some may be on the hunt for product information, buyer’s guides, or the current circular with the week’s in-store specials.

I believe brick-and-mortar brands dominate shopping-related searches because those are the brands that are the most pervasive/popular/trusted in the marketplace. Their online shops offer a safe and familiar place to buy online.

A huge number of Internet users are searching for “home depot” when they could be typing in homedepot.com directly into their browser’s Location bar. Why is this? I imagine that for many people, typing in “home depot” into the Google Toolbar or into the search box on their Start Page is just easier or most comfortable. Perhaps some, like myself, even configured their Google Toolbar to display the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button, to go straight to the first search result. ;-)

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2 comments for Searching for brick-and-mortar retailers? »

  1. MyAvatars 0.2

    Makes sense to me. It’s amazing the number of people who type the domain name into the search box and the company name into the navigation bar !

    Comment by RSA course — 9/19/2008 @ 1:47 am


  2. MyAvatars 0.2

    “I think most Americans already know where their local Home Depot is. Instead, these searchers are looking to buy online.”

    Not likely. People looking to buy online are too Net savvy to seek out the online presence of a brick and mortar store, they go to the Amazons and Newegg.

    Every time *I* go to a brick and mortar store’s website it’s to (1) see if they carry an item I want and have it in stock, because I want it now rather than in a couple of days, (2) to use their store locator to find the store closest to me.

    What I wish I could find (and searching for it is what led me to your blog), is something like Google’s shopping search that let me search ONLY the inventories of brick and mortars near me, when I want to pick something up (like the 360 Wireless Receiver) and just want to know who near me carries it.

    Comment by Eric T — 5/7/2010 @ 5:18 pm


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