So the question is who researches online before they buy? The answer is 70% of all consumers according to a recent survey. This doesn't mean 70% actually buy a product online but it does mean they do all their research and find which product to buy.
I find this shocking that so many companies still have such poor online presences and experiences around their products. It seems to me fairly logical that if I was a company selling a product or service to consumers that top of my priority list should be my online presence about that product or service. The Internet is an amazing tool that gives companies the ability to educate and market to consumers in the way THEY want to showcase that product. In the online world we are not subject to the confusion that is the retail experience today.
For example if I am a company that makes products in the digital home/digital ecosystem then I would want my online experience around that ecosystem to showcase my products working together and providing a lifestyle solution. This is something no retail outlet other then my own would allow.
As the number of consumers educating and deciding on product decisions from the Internet companies had better adapt before their competition does.