A study by e-tailing.com and PowerReviews details online shopping trends, specifically highlighting the importance of browsing to save time and increase confidence in purchase decisions. 50% of all online shoppers do research for at least half of the things they buy online. In addition, the study found that just about 60% of online shoppers begin their research with a search engine, while retailer sites and brand sites each garnering about 20% of the remaining shoppers.

From a brand’s perspective, how can this information best inform future advertising decisions? If 50% of shoppers will browse, and only 20% of shoppers (who specifically know about your brand and products) will come to your site, it becomes increasingly necessary to cast a stickier net. You not only need to reach out to customers to raise brand awareness, but you might want to continue to stay in front of consumers throughout the research period.

Retargeting can help brands make those crucial impressions and convert browsers into buyers.

Focusing on the 20% of people who are in the market for a specific brand’s particular products, retargeting allows brands to tailor an ad to a particular visitor’s interests–like showing them a shoe ad if they were looking at shoes, or even more specifically a sandal ad if they were after sandals, right down to the exact product they investigated–and then serve those banners back to that visitor as they browse on other sites later.

Once a visitor, who has already indicated interest by coming to a brand’s site, clicks on a retargeted banner ad, they can be transported to a tailored landing page. Make the page product-specific (show them that sandal that they had been looking at), retargeting specific (show visitors that you recognize them with a “Welcome back!” message), or offer specific (thank visitors for coming by with a special coupon code). Tailored landing pages are a powerful tool in converting past visitors into customers. If you know that your visitors will be doing research, plan for that in your sales funnel, and invest against it with retargeting ads that will convert them when they’re ready.

Any way you implement retargeting, it helps brand’s ride and respond to the increasing number of people who look around and gather information before submitting an order. Online browsing has replaced that in-store wander to the sale rack, but it’s also opened up the door for your potential customers to go to that other store next door, that much more easily. Keep them browsing your products by keeping them easily accessible with retargeting.

**From Marketing Profs “Findings are from 2010 Social Shopping Survey, conducted by the e-tailing group and PowerReviews, which surveyed over 1,000 consumers who shop at least four times per year and spend $250+ annually shopping online. The survey was conducted from March 19 to 25, 2010.”