According to Forbes, “in-store shopping behavior is significantly influenced by online research.” With the surge of online shopping, shoppers are finding new ways to make appropriate buying decisions. They are researching products online to find relevant product information to make the right buying decisions in the physical store. This approach is known as ROPO (Research online, purchase offline); this concept is a new trend that empowers a customer to get their hands on the product with the best possible price. In this article, we will explain why ROPO should be considered and what are its advantages. Without further ado, let us get started.
Why should a brand consider ROPO?
Considering only online or offline in isolation can’t provide a holistic view. Shoppers nowadays prefer to buy certain products after a good feel and touch. If a brand does not consider the ROPO effect, then they won’t get a complete view. For example, sales of shoes might be low on online platforms, but at the same time, the shoes will get more purchases from in-store because shoppers prefer to buy shoes after reviewing them. In this example, if a brand only considers offline sales, they will not understand that the online platforms were the reasons for driving the in-store customer.
The ROPO effect allows a brand to accurately calculate their ROI; the calculated result is offline revenue, which is influenced by online marketing investment. Let us look at three ways to optimize the ROPO strategy.
1. Firstly, brands need to determine which products will do good when used for the ROPO effect. Doing surveys and finding insights will help the brand in selecting the appropriate products for the ROPO strategy. Before choosing the right product, brands need to understand why the customer prefers ROPO. Below are the few reasons which a customer considers, when doing ROPO:
- Customers should be able to see, touch, and try the merchandise.
- Customers should be able to get the product immediately.
- Customers are more particular about the fit/suitability of the product.
- Customers are more comfortable in buying perishable products in-store
Based on the above observations, brands should consider the following factors before choosing a product for ROPO effect:
- Products which customers want to see or touch
- Customers want to take the product with them
- Customers want to inform themselves about product features
2. Once the brand selects the desired product for the ROPO strategy, it is crucial to determine the optimum price. The price should be made by considering the competition.
3. Lastly, brands should align their advertisement platforms to have a competitive edge. The goal should be to appear in the top results for interested shoppers. Additionally, brands should track the ROPO effect but how should they do it?
How can a brand measure the ROPO effect?
The biggest challenge of implementing ROPO is tracking. Tracking online conversions is easy. Unfortunately, tracking offline conversions that originate online is not. Let us look at some of the ways in which brands can measure the ROPO effect:
The biggest challenge of implementing ROPO is tracking. Tracking online conversions is easy. Unfortunately, tracking offline conversions that originate online is not. Let us look at some of how brands can measure the ROPO effect:
- GPS Tracking: By far, the ideal approach to measure the ROPO effect is GPS tracking. With the increase of technology, brands can quickly see how many people came into the store influenced by online advertisements.
- Statistical Analysis: Brands can compare the traffic of a product on their website with in-store sales. If the in-store customer increases with the increase of traffic on the website, then ROPO might be the reason for increased sales.
- Surveys: Surveys have always been an effective way of monitoring changes and consumer preferences. But to do appropriate analysis, brands should survey at least 300-500 customers.
Advantages of using ROPO model:
- Lesser Returns: According to a study by Forrester “around 86 per cent of customers expect to be allowed to return online orders in the store” which makes it difficult for the brands to handle return and refund. ROPO enables consumers to inspect the product before exiting the store, which decreases the chances of product returns.
- Reduces shipping costs :Retailers can use their physical stores to fulfill their ecommerce orders, which can reduce the cost of shipping as customers will pick up the order directly from the store, this process will help the seller in achieving better cost-efficiency.
- Reduction in shipping time: In today’s competitive world, having a well-planned shipping management system gives the organisation a competitive edge. According to the report of Walker Sands, “The Future of Retail 2019″ which says that around 35% of consumers say that shipping the next day is a key to get them purchase online more frequently , while 39% of consumers say that same-day delivery would make them more likely to shop online and 20% of the consumers are looking for a two-hour(or less ) delivery.
- Flexible: The most compelling thing about the ROPO approach is that it is not industry-specific, it can be applied to any industry which makes it a flexible system.
- Increased Sales: ROPO allows customers to research online and purchase from the store, and when customers see different products available at the store, this in turn increases foot traffic to the store.
With the rise of e-commerce, consumer behaviour has also changed. Customers are now more than ever comfortable doing online research on the products they are interested in buying. If brands do not consider the ROPO effect, they won’t be able to keep up with the customers’ changing behaviours, which means lesser profits and brand reach.