Searching for brick-and-mortar retailers?

May 28th, 2006


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 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. 😉