One of the most frequently used cues of the likelihood to purchase in a brick-and-mortar setting is the searching and browsing behavior of consumers. Retail sales employees are often trained to examine a consumer’s searching behavior in determining their likelihood to purchase. It would seem, therefore, that such a similar correlation should occur in the online setting. Namely, consumes’r search behavior should be related to their likelihood to purchase. However, does search behavior offer any information in the online setting? It is this question that we explore in this paper. In addition, we investigate how the relationship between search and purchase behavior differs at different levels of analysis, extended search, and session-level search. We find that in the aggregate, when taking extended search into account, search breadth and depth are both positively associated with purchase behavior, suggesting that the extended search process is positively associated with purchase behavior. When we drill down to the session level, separating the sessions by person, we find that search breadth is negatively associated with amount spent online, whereas search depth is positively associated with amount spent online. These results show that a relationship exists between search behavior and purchase behavior. In addition, the results suggest that firms should examine both extended search and session-level search when assessing their consumer base.
Lockwood, Andrew; Jones, Joni; and Zhang, Jian, "Does Search Matter? Using Clickstream Data to Examine the Relationship between Online Search and Purchase Behavior" (2006). ICIS 2006 Proceedings. 58.