Digitizing Offline Search: An Empirical Analysis of Search Behavior on the Mobile Internet
51 Pages Posted: 8 May 2015 Last revised: 27 Feb 2020
Date Written: February 27, 2020
Smartphones impact all stages of the customer journey and digitize consumers’ offline search by providing access to product information anywhere and at any time. However, very little is known about how smartphones impact the way consumers search for product information when shopping for offline products. We study the unique aspects of mobile search by analyzing the search behavior of 2.5 million consumers for 1.8 million different products from a leading product information app. We find that consumers search for more detailed information about specific products (search depth), but rarely compare between different products from the same category (search breadth). However, both search breadth and depth on smartphones are lower than reported in the previous literature. New mobile-specific search measures indicate that most search activities happen away from stores. Furthermore, we can show that the inclusion of mobile-specific search measures substantially improves the accuracy of predicting consumers’ trips to areas around retail stores.
Keywords: Consumer Search, Consideration Sets, Location-Based Services, Big Data
JEL Classification: M31, D83, C23, C25, L86
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