Avenue A/Razorfish conducted a study of almost 500 connected consumers to figure out how people were using marketer websites and forecast what would be important in web design during the next year. It's a prioritization effort, said Mr. Schmitt. Marketers have to ask themselves how do they want to maximize their sites' real estate?

One of the most surprising things the team found was how many people are starting their online shopping with search -- more than 54% of the study's panel, in fact. The idea that more consumers are coming to brand sites through the side door of search means search engines are starting to circumvent brands when it comes to online shopping. While a consumer looking for a pizza stone offline might drive to her nearest Williams-Sonoma, in the online world she's more likely to just type the product name into Google and see what comes up.

"Marketers need to stop thinking so much about their site and more about what's happening outside their site, such as widgets, viral and search," Garrik Schmitt, VP-user experience at Avenue A/Razorfish said.

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